Functional outcome of very preterm-born and small-for-gestational-age children at school age

Pediatr Res. 2012 Dec;72(6):641-8. doi: 10.1038/pr.2012.130. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


Background: Our aim was to determine functional outcome of very preterm-born and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) children as compared with matched controls at school age.

Methods: We included 28 very preterm SGA children (GA <32 wk, birth weight (BW) <10th percentile), born in 2000-2001. We also included 28 very preterm but appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA) children, matched for GA, gender, and birth year, as controls. We assessed motor skills, intelligence quotient (IQ), attention, verbal memory, visual perception, visuomotor integration, executive functioning, and behavior of both sets of children at school age.

Results: The SGA children had a median GA of 29.7 wk and BW of 888 g, whereas the controls had a median GA of 29.4 wk and BW of 1,163 g. At 8.6 y, the median total IQ of the SGA children was 94 as compared with 95 in the controls (not significant). Performance IQ was significantly lower in SGA children (89 vs. 95, P = 0.043), whereas verbal IQ was not (95 vs. 95). Total motor skills (P = 0.048) and fine motor skills (P = 0.021) were worse in SGA children. Furthermore, SGA children scored lower on selective attention (P = 0.026) and visual perception (P = 0.025). Other scores did not differ significantly between groups.

Conclusion: The differences we found between the groups were small. This suggests that the impaired functioning of very preterm-born SGA children is attributable to their having been born very preterm rather than to being SGA.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age*
  • Male