* 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.
* 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.
* What’s next…age 16-18?
We want to see the UKOS children again at age 16-18 to see if there has been any changes, since they are growing rapidly at present. We hope to assess all the children who came to the age 11-14 follow-up plus others who were unable to come. We are now planning for this new phase and will be in contact soon!