Chronic conditions, functional limitations, and special health care needs of school-aged children born with extremely low-birth-weight in the 1990s

JAMA. 2005 Jul 20;294(3):318-25. doi: 10.1001/jama.294.3.318.


Context: Information on the school-age functioning and special health care needs of extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW, <1000 g) children is necessary to plan for medical and educational services.

Objective: To examine neurosensory, developmental, and medical conditions together with the associated functional limitations and special health care needs of ELBW children compared with normal-birth-weight (NBW) term-born children (controls).

Design, setting, and participants: A follow-up study at age 8 years of a cohort of 219 ELBW children born 1992 to 1995 (92% of survivors) and 176 NBW controls of similar sociodemographic status conducted in Cleveland, Ohio.

Main outcome measures: Parent Questionnaire for Identifying Children with Chronic Conditions of 12 months or more and categorization of specific medical diagnoses and developmental disabilities based on examination of the children.

Results: In logistic regression analyses adjusting for sociodemographic status and sex, ELBW children had significantly more chronic conditions than NBW controls, including functional limitations (64% vs 20%, respectively; odds ratio [OR], 8.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.0-13.1; P<.001), compensatory dependency needs (48% vs 23%, respectively; OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.9-4.7; P<.001), and services above those routinely required by children (65% vs 27%, respectively; OR, 5.4; 95% CI, 3.4-8.5; P<.001). These differences remained significant when the 36 ELBW children with neurosensory impairments were excluded. Specific diagnoses and disabilities for ELBW vs NBW children included cerebral palsy (14% vs 0%, respectively; P<.001), asthma (21% vs 9%; OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.6-5.6; P = .001), vision of less than 20/200 (10% vs 3%; OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.2-7.8; P = .02), low IQ of less than 85 (38% vs 14%; OR, 4.5; 95% CI, 2.7-7.7; P<.001), limited academic skills (37% vs 15%; OR, 4.2; 95% CI, 2.5-7.3; P<.001), poor motor skills (47% vs 10%; OR, 7.8; 95% CI, 4.5-13.6; P<.001), and poor adaptive functioning (69% vs 34%; OR, 6.5; 95% CI, 4.0-10.6; P<.001).

Conclusion: The ELBW survivors in school at age 8 years who were born in the 1990s have considerable long-term health and educational needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Developmental Disabilities*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Logistic Models
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Survivors*
  • United States