Neonatal neurological examination of late preterm babies

Early Hum Dev. 2013 Aug;89(8):537-45. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2013.01.002. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


Backgrounds: Healthy late-preterm (LP) infants examined at term equivalent age showed wider median and range of neurological scores than full-term infants; differences between infants born at 34 and those born at 35-36 weeks were also observed.

Aims: The aim of this study is to establish the range and frequency distribution of neonatal neurological scores in a cohort of low risk LP infants assessed during the first 3 days from birth.

Study design and subjects: 118 low-risk infants born between 34 and 36 weeks of gestational age (GA) were assessed between 48 and 72 h from birth.

Outcome measures: The full version of the Hammersmith Neonatal Neurologic Assessment and the screening proforma were used to assess all the infants. The raw scores obtained were compared to those of full-term infants using the same examination.

Results: The distribution of neurological scores was similar among the 3 GAs for 26 items, with different median scores among LP infants born at 36 weeks and those born at 34 and 35 in only 2 items. LP infants showed a wider range of findings for each item than that of full term infants assessed soon after birth. Using the screening proforma, in our cohort, for each item the findings falling outside the 90% level were identical to those found in term-born and very preterm infants assessed at term age.

Conclusions: The neurological scores obtained in our cohort could help as reference data when examining LP infants at birth compared to age matched low risk infants.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child Development*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination