Individual Study / HeSVA

HeSVA - Helsinki Study of Very Low Birth Weight Adults

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Very low birth weight (VLBW) infants born 1978 – 1985 were followed-up to study survival and neurosensory outcomes into adulthood. In 2004-2005, 166 VLBW (birthweight <1500g) and 172 control subjects, aged 18 to 27 years, (group-matched by age, sex and birth hospital) participated in a detailed clinical examination which included oral glucose tolerance test, 24-hour blood pressure, body composition by dual x-ray absorptiometry, endothelial function by flow-mediated dilatation, lymphocyte DNA (GWAS with Illumina OmniExpress 1.2 and EWAS with Illumina 450k), sleep by 3-day actigraphy and detailed questionnaires about physical activity, mental health, and personality. In 2005, 54 VLBW and 40 controls underwent a Trier Social Stress Test and 48-hour salivary cortisol measurement. In 2007-2008, 104 VLBW and 100 controls participated in a re-examination which included intravenous glucose tolerance test and a detailed neuropsychological assessment. Overall aim was to evaluate health and wellbeing of VLBW adults as compared to their term born peers.

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Investigators Contacts
  • Eero Kajantie
    Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
  • Dr Petteri Hovi
    National Institute for Health and Welfare
  • Dr Petteri Hovi
    National Institute for Health and Welfare


Start Year
Follow Up Is Ongoing
Year of Most Recent Data Collection
New Data Collection planned?
European Commission (RECAP), Academy of Finland, Sigrid Jusélius Foundation, Foundation for Pediatric Research, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation, Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Finnish Diabetes Research Foundation, Cardiovascular Research Foundation


Access to external researchers or third parties provided or foreseen.

Data (questionnaire-derived, measured...)
Other access

Study Design

Study design
Number of Data Collection Events
Number of very preterm (VPT) and/or very low birthweight (VLBW) births included in cohort (live & still births)

Marker Paper

Hovi P, Andersson S, Eriksson JG, et al. Glucose regulation in young adults with very low birth weight. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:2053-2063.

PUBMED 17507704



The HeSVA population comprises 335 VLBW infants born 1978-1985 and discharged alive from neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital in Helsinki, which is the only NICU serving a geographically defined area (province of Uusimaa).
Selection Criteria
  • Finland
Geographical Area
VPT/VLBW Group Inclusion Criteria
All infants born at < 1500g discharged alive from the NICU at Children’s Hospital in Helsinki between 1978 and 1985.
Control Group Inclusion Criteria
Control subjects were group-matched by age, sex and birth hospital. They had to be singleton, term born and not SGA (Birth weight SDS not < -2.0 according to current Finnish criteria (Pihkala J 1989, Duodecim).
VPT/VLBW Group Exclusion Criteria
Death before discharge from NICU. Lived more than 110 km away from Helsinki in 2004.
Control Group Exclusion Criteria
Lived more than 110 km away from Helsinki in 2004.
Data Collection Events
# Name Description Start End
0 Perinatal Assessment Perinatal assessment included collection of data from medical records on maternal medical and obstetric history, conditions during pregnancy, maternal smoking during pregnancy, infant ... 1978 1985
1 15 Month Follow Up 1979 1979
2 5 Year Follow Up 1983 1990
3 18-27 Year Follow Up At an average age of 22 years (18-27 years), participants underwent a full clinical and neuropsychological assessment.

Prior to the clinic visit, participants completed questionnaires on ...
2004-03 2005-04
4 20-29 Year Follow Up At an average age of 23 years (20-29 years), a subset of participants was randomly selected from those who attended the first clinic visit. These participants took part in a stress test including ... 2005-06 2005-11
5 22-30 Year Follow Up At an average age of 25 years (22-30 years), the full cohort was invited for a clinic visit. The participant underwent a clinical examination to assess anthropometric measurements and blood ... 2007-03 2008-04