Objective: To evaluate the neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm infants with a grade III or IV hemorrhage and to assess the effect of routine low-threshold therapy of post-hemorrhagic ventricular dilatation (PHVD) on neurodevelopmental outcome.
Study design: Of the 214 preterm infants (< or = 34 weeks gestational age), 94 (44%) had a grade III intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), and 120 (56%) had a grade IV hemorrhage. We evaluated the natural evolution of IVH, the need for intervention for PHVD, and neurodevelopmental outcome at 24 months corrected age.
Results: PHVD developed significantly more often in the surviving infants with a grade III hemorrhage (53/68, 78%) than in infants with a grade IV hemorrhage (40/76, 53%; P = .002). Intervention for PHVD was required significantly more often in the grade III group, than in the grade IV group (P < .001). In the grade III group, cerebral palsy developed in 5 of the 68 surviving infants (7.4%), compared with 37 of the 76 infants (48.7%) with a grade IV hemorrhage (P < .001). The mean developmental quotient (DQ) in the grade III group was 99, and in the grade IV-group it was 95 at 24 months corrected age.
Conclusions: Short-term neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm infants with grade III or IV hemorrhage was better than reported earlier. Requiring intervention for PHVD only had a negative effect on DQ in infants with a grade IV hemorrhage. Infants with cerebral palsy had significantly lower DQs, irrespective of the severity of IVH.