Background: A high prevalence of abnormal cerebral MRI findings has been reported in low-birth-weight children.
Objective: To compare MRI findings in very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) and term small-for-gestational-age (SGA) children with controls in early adolescence.
Materials and methods: Cerebral MRI was used to examine 55 VLBW, 54 SGA and 66 controls at 15 years of age. The MR images were qualitatively assessed, and size of ventricles, white-matter and grey-matter abnormalities were reported.
Results: The VLBW teenagers had a higher prevalence of various MRI abnormalities than SGA children and controls. Dilation of the ventricular system, especially of the occipital horns, was found in 82% of the VLBW group, in 19% of the SGA group and in 21% of controls. White-matter reduction was found in 53% of the VLBW, in 6% of the SGA and in 2% of controls. Corpus callosum thinning was found in 47% of the VLBW, in 2% of the SGA and in 6% of controls. Periventricular gliosis was found in 29% of the VLBW, in 4% of the SGA and in 8% of controls.
Conclusions: Cerebral MRI pathology in white matter is a common finding in VLBW teenagers. The findings may indicate minor perinatal PVL with resulting loss of white-matter tissue and ventricular dilation.