Background: Major grades of intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) are associated with adverse neurodevelopmental sequelae in early childhood but the extent of problems in specific cognitive areas, such as executive function, and the contribution of lesser grades of IVH to neurodevelopmental problems at school age are not well described.
Aims: To determine the neuromotor, cognitive and educational outcome of extremely low birthweight (ELBW, birthweight <1000 g) or very preterm (<28 weeks) infants at 8 years of age related to the severity of IVH diagnosed in the newborn period.
Design: Regional cohort study.
Patients: Consecutive surviving children of either birthweight <1000 g or gestational age <28 weeks born in the state of Victoria in 1991 or 1992.
Main outcome measures: Neurological impairments and disabilities, cognitive function and academic progress.
Results: Of 298 consecutive ELBW/very preterm survivors 270 (90.6%) with cranial ultrasound data were assessed at 8 years of age. Cerebral palsy, poor motor performance and major neurosensory disability were more prevalent with increasing severity of IVH. Cognitive functioning across domains was worse with increasing severity of IVH. Most of the differences were attributable to the few (n=6) survivors who had grade 4 IVH; there were few substantial differences between survivors with lesser grades of IVH.
Conclusions: Neurodevelopmental dysfunction at school age in ELBW/very preterm survivors varies little with increasing severity of IVH, with the exception of grade 4 IVH.