Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

Dysphonia following preterm birth

Dysphonia – vocal abnormality – in children that were born preterm is relatively common but it is not screened for and behavioural or surgical interventions may be difficult for parents to access. Childhood dysphonia often persists into adulthood and can result in significant adverse social, academic and emotional outcomes that may add to other pre-existing problems of prematurity (eg hearing, developmental and cognitive challenges). Infants born extremely preterm/low birth weight or those that have had patent ductus arteriosus ligation might benefit from early referral for expert assessment. This article includes a personal story to better appreciate the ‘lived experience’.

Lauren Dhugga1
Specialty Trainee in Paediatrics

Sophie Proud2
Neonatal Junior Sister

Salema King1
Specialty Trainee in Paediatrics

Claire McLarnon3
Consultant Otolaryngologist

Nicholas Embleton1,4
Consultant Neonatologist and Professor of Neonatal Medicine

1Neonatal Unit, Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), Newcastle Hospitals NHSFT
2Neonatal Unit, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast
3Great North Children’s Hospital, RVI and ENT Dept, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle Hospitals NHSFT
4Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne

Dhugga L., Proud S., King S., McLarnon C., Embleton N. Dysphonia following preterm birth. Infant 2023;19(5):164-68.

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dysphonia; voice disorder; extreme preterm birth; low birth weight; HRQoL
Key points
  1. Dysphonia is common in children who were born preterm. It may result from damage to the larynx, laryngeal nerves or other structures.
  2. It is often under-recognised or not referred for expert assessment.
  3. Dysphonia can have significant adverse impacts over the life-course.

Also published in Infant:

Evidence base for a care bundle to reduce IVH in preterm neonates
Intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) is a significant complication of premature birth occurring in 20-25% of neonates born before 30 weeks of gestation or with a birth weight of <1,500g. It carries a risk of adverse long-term neurodevelopment outcomes in very low birth weight infants. Multiple strategies are indicated in the literature to reduce the rate of IVH in preterm infants. A systematic literature review was performed and an evidence-based IVH care bundle was developed based on the best available evidence from the literature search.