Objective: To study the relationship among the quality, type, and trajectory of general movements in preterm infants and neonatal cranial ultrasonography findings and neurological outcome.
Method: Forty preterm newborn infants, with gestational ages under 35 weeks, had their general movements recorded through video-tape during the preterm, term (37th - 42nd postconceptional weeks of age) and post-term (49th - 56th postconceptional weeks of age) periods, and were prospectively followed up to one-year conceptional age.
Results: Our results showed that the quality of general movements, particularly in the post-term period (p = 0.009), were related with the presence of severe cerebral lesions in the neonatal cranial ultrasonography and the neurological outcome. While the presence of severe ultrasonography lesions was associated with an adverse neurological outcome (p = 0.01), the finding of normal general movements patterns was associated with a normal neurological outcome, with negative predictive values of 100%, for the preterm, and 80%, for both term and post-term periods.
Conclusions: When concurrently used, these evaluation methods may increase the specificity and sensitivity in detecting the group of preterm infants at high risk for neurological disturbances in long-term follow-up.