Background: Qualitative aspects of the motor repertoire, at 11-16 weeks post-term are predictive for minor neurological dysfunction (MND) at 7 to 11 years of age. Predictive value of quantitative aspects is unknown so far.
Aim: To investigate whether quantitative aspects of the motor repertoire between 6 and 24 weeks post-term also have predictive value for neurological outcome at 7 to 11 years of age.
Study design: Prospective cohort study.
Subjects: Preterm infants from whom several quantitative aspects of the motor repertoire were assessed between 6 and 24 weeks post-term.
Outcome measures: Neurological outcome at 7-11 years of age was assessed according to Touwens' neurological examination. Children were classified as neurologically normal, or as having complex MND or cerebral palsy (CP).
Results: Eighty-two children were included. At 7 to 11 years of age 15 children (18%) had developed CP, 49 (60%) were neurologically normal, and 18 (22%) had MND. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that, when the qualitative aspects of the motor repertoire known to predict neurological outcome were taken into account, only the asymmetric tonic neck (ATN) posture provided additional predictive value. In case of normal fidgety movements (FMs) accompanied by an abnormal concurrent motor repertoire, the presence of an obligatory ATN increased the risk for developing complex MND to 75%; absence of an obligatory ATN reduced the risk to 15% (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Quantitative aspects of the motor repertoire at 11-16 weeks post-term, in particular the presence of an obligatory ATN posture, contribute to the prediction of neurological outcome at 7 to 11 years of age.