The Study

* Initial study (1998-2001)

Babies were recruited to the initial UKOS study between 1998 and 2001. They were recruited from 22 hospitals in the UK, and one in each of Ireland, Australia and Singapore. Babies could enter the study if they were born between 23 weeks and 28 weeks, had no congenital abnormalities, and required help with their breathing. 797 babies were recruited to the study.

At birth, infants were randomised to be ventilated (to help their breathing) using High Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation (HFOV) or Conventional Ventilation (CV). Both types of ventilation were routinely used in neonatal units when UKOS started.

Babies were assessed extensively while in hospital and then re-assessed at age six months, one year and two years. None of these assessments uncovered any clear differences between the two ways of ventilating the children.

* Follow-up study at age 11-14 (2012-2013)

There is some evidence that suggests that high frequency oscillation may reduce longer term breathing problems. The follow-up study at age 11-14, conducted between 2012 and 2013 reassessed UKOS children to determine their lung function, respiratory health and development.

We found that on average children who received the oscillator had better lung function test results than children who received the conventional ventilator. There were no differences found in symptoms or general health. The study results were published in March 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine.


UKOS child Ryan performing one of the lung function tests during the assessment at King’s.

* Children born at full term (2013 – 2014)

In order to fully understand the severity of any health problems  or abnormalities we find in the UKOS children, we assessed healthy children of the same age. Between 2013 and 2014 we saw over 100 children aged 11-14 who were born at full term. Such information will help us better care for very prematurely born babies in the future.

* UKOS 3: age 16 to 18

UKOS 3 is looking at how breathing support when babies are first born affects their lung function in adulthood. Such long-term studies are rare yet increasingly important to improve care of small babies.

We have measured the first 50 young people as part of UKOS 3. We would like to invite all those who have not yet been assessed at 16-18 years old to participate. If you would like to be involved, please drop me an email ( or give us a call (0203 299 3037). We will provide transport and accommodation if needed. We will also give you a £20 Amazon voucher to say thank you for your time.

One of the UKOS participants having her lung function measured.



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