Neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm very low birth weight infants born from 2005 to 2007

Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2012 Nov;16(6):716-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2012.05.006. Epub 2012 Jun 17.


Objective: To evaluate short-term neurodevelopmental outcome (at 24 months of corrected age) and correlations with obstetric and neonatal factors in a sample of preterm very low birth weight infants born and admitted to an Italian tertiary centre between 2005 and 2007.

Methods: 156 infants with a birth weight ≤ 1500 g (gestational age, range: 27-31 weeks) were followed at regular intervals through neurodevelopmental (neurological and psychomotor) assessment up to 24 months of corrected age. A statistical analysis was conducted in order to look for correlations between pre- and perinatal variables and neuropsychomotor outcome at 24 months.

Results: 131 children were classified as normal and the other 25 presented sequelae classified as "minor" in 17 cases and as "major" in eight. The most significant risk factors for a poor outcome were preterm premature rupture of the membranes, bronchodysplasia, late-onset sepsis, postnatal steroid therapy and male gender. The presence of severe abnormalities on brain ultrasound scan and of an abnormal neurological assessment at 40 weeks at term equivalent age were strong predictors of poor outcome.

Conclusions: Our study is one of the few investigating the short-term outcome of preterm VLBW Italian children born in the second half of the 2000s. Neurodevelopmental assessment at 24 months revealed a marked reduction in major sequelae. Several risk factors for a poor neurodevelopmental outcome identified in children born in earlier periods were confirmed in these children born in recent years.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiometry
  • Birth Weight
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / physiology*
  • Italy
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial