Background: The population of preterm infants is increasing and resources available for follow-up are limited. Early markers are needed to identify children who will show major as well as more subtle neurodevelopmental impairments. Such a challenge could be achieved with the Amiel-Tison Neurological Assessment at Term (ATNAT).
Aims: This study assesses the usefulness of the ATNAT in the prediction of developmental problems at two years of corrected age (CA) in infants born between 29 and 37 weeks of gestation.
Method: Inclusion criteria were: gestational age between 29(0/7) and 36(6/7) weeks inclusively, birth weight below 2500g and minimal 24-hour stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Sainte-Justine Hospital. A sample of 147 was prospectively recruited and assessed at two ages: at term with the ATNAT and at 24months CA with Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II.
Results: No major impairment such as cerebral palsy and no neurosensory impairment were observed. Developmental delay defined by an index<70 on the mental or psychomotor scale was reported respectively in 6.2% and 5.4% of the cohort. Significant differences in mental, psychomotor and behavioral performances were found according to neurological status. Neurological status was the only variable to enter the predictive model for psychomotor and behavioral indexes. Gender and neurological status remained in the predictive model for mental performance.
Conclusion: This study supports the inclusion of the ATNAT among the eligibility criteria for systematic neurodevelopmental surveillance as it allows early identification of infants at higher risk of low developmental performances at 24months CA.
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