Preterm Infant Functional and Clinical Outcomes study

Monitoring the severity of chronic lung disease in preterm babies

The Preterm Infant Functional and Clinical Outcomes (PIFCO) study aims to attain a more complete understanding of the interrelationships between:

  • the lungs
  • the respiratory muscle pump including the diaphragm and the chest wall
  • gas exchange capacity in the lungs
  • the heart
  • neonatal nutrition and
  • body composition

More than 350 preterm babies born before 32 weeks gestation have been enrolled in the PIFCO study to undergo a thorough physiological assessment at 36 weeks postmenstrual age, just before being discharged home from hospital.

The assessment includes extensive tests of lung and diaphragm function, an echocardiogram, and a body composition analysis. The results of these tests are analysed to determine the baby’s clinical treatment and factors that might impact the physiological outcomes.

The babies are then followed up at one year corrected postnatal age at the Telethon Kids Institute to see if their lung and heart function are improving.

Our goal is to better understand the factors contributing to breathing disorders such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a multifactorial disease and an improved understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease will potentially lead to new therapeutic strategies and better follow-up arrangements of babies who receive this diagnosis.

Those working on the project include Associate Professor Jane Pillow, Clinical Associate Professor Andy Gill, Dr Benjamin Stoecklin and Dr Jenny Svedenkrans.

Funding to assist with this project has come from the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Swiss National Science Foundation.



We collaborate with international research groups to promote multidisciplinary research. These partners include:

  • Research lead Professor Raffaele Dellacà€, Politecnico di Milano
  • Professor Emeritus Zoltan Hantos, University of Szeged
  • Professor Graham Hall, Children’s Lung Health Group, Telethon Kids Institute

Contact Associate Professor Jane Pillow