Objective: To investigate the relationship between cerebellar hemorrhage in preterm infants seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but not on ultrasonography, and neurodevelopmental outcome.
Study design: Images from a cohort study of MRI in preterm newborns were reviewed for cerebellar hemorrhage. The children were assessed at a mean age of 4.8 years with neurologic examination and developmental testing using the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Third Edition.
Results: Cerebellar hemorrhage was detected on both ultrasonography and MRI in 3 of the 131 preterm newborns evaluated, whereas smaller hemorrhages were seen only on MRI in 10 newborns (total incidence, 10%). Adjusting for gestational age at birth, intraventricular hemorrhage, and white matter injury, cerebellar hemorrhage detectable solely by MRI was associated with a 5-fold increased odds of abnormal neurologic examination compared with newborns without cerebellar hemorrhage (outcome data in 74%). No association with the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Third Edition score was found.
Conclusions: Cerebellar hemorrhage is not uncommon in preterm newborns. Although associated with neurologic abnormalities, hemorrhage seen only on MRI is associated with much more optimistic outcomes than that visible on ultrasonography.
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