Cognitive and neuropsychological outcomes at 5 years of age in preterm children born in the 2000s

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2011 Mar;53(3):256-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2010.03828.x. Epub 2010 Dec 17.


Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the cognitive level and neuropsychological performance at 5 years of age in children with a very low birthweight (VLBW; birthweight <1501 g) born in 2001 to 2003.

Method: A regional cohort of 97 children with a VLBW (mean gestational age 28 wks [SD 3 wks]; mean birthweight 1054 g [SD 259 g]; 50 male; 47 female) and a comparison group of 161 healthy children born at term (mean gestational age 40 wks [SD 1 wks]; mean birthweight 3644 g [SD 446 g]; 80 male; 81 female) were included in this study. At 5 years of age (SD 2 mo) cognitive level was assessed with the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence - revised and neuropsychological performance was assessed using NEPSY II.

Results: The mean intelligence of the VLBW group corresponded to the normative mean of 100 but was lower than the mean of the low-risk comparison group (p<0.001). Neuropsychological performance was also significantly poorer than that of the comparison group. In NEPSY II, 25% of the VLBW group had a significantly impaired performance in one of 11 subtests and 33% had a significantly impaired performance in more than one, while 19% of the comparison group had a significantly impaired performance in one subtest and 10% had a significantly impaired performance in more than one.

Interpretation: The mean cognitive capacity of the VLBW cohort corresponded to the normative mean. However, assessments of cognitive level only at preschool age do not provide the information on neuropsychological deficit that is necessary for planning adequate educational support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Intelligence*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Premature Birth*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wechsler Scales