Objective: The Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination was performed in a cohort of 74 preterm infants whose gestational age ranged between 24 and 30.5 weeks. The infants were examined between 9 and 18 months' chronologic age (6-15 months' corrected age) and scored with the optimality score system previously standardized in a cohort of low-risk term infants. The aim of the study was to establish the frequency distribution of the optimality scores in this cohort and to establish whether the scores can predict locomotor function at 2 years of age.
Results: The results showed that this standardized neurologic examination can be performed in preterm infants as early as 9 months' chronologic age to predict motor outcome at 2 years old. The scores showed no significant association with the degree of prematurity or the age of assessment.
Conclusion: This examination should be particularly useful in very premature infants who are at high risk of severe neurologic and developmental disabilities and for whom the early prediction of motor function can be difficult.