Prognostic value of the qualitative assessments of general movements in late-preterm infants

Early Hum Dev. 2013 Dec;89(12):1063-6. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2013.08.008. Epub 2013 Sep 1.


Background: The quality of general movements (GMs) and its predictive value have never been evaluated in late-preterm (LP) infants.

Aims: To determine the characteristics of GMs and their predictive value for neurodevelopmental outcome in a cohort of infants born between 34 and 36 weeks' gestation.

Study design and subjects: 574 LP infants were examined using the standard methodological principles of Prechtl's method for assessing GMs both during writhing and fidgety periods.

Outcome measures: Infants were assessed at 2 years of age with neuromotor and developmental scales.

Results: A significant correlation was found between GMs and outcome both at writhing (rs 0.68; p < 0.001) and at fidgety age (rs 0.78; p < 0.001). The assessment at 1 month showed 100% sensitivity and 86% specificity of predicting the development of cerebral palsy (CP), that at 3 months was 100% sensitivity and 97% specificity.

Conclusions: During the fidgety age GMs predict CP with very high sensitivity and specificity. The qualitative assessment of GMs should be employed to help identify LP infants who require early intervention for neurological abnormalities.

Keywords: Cerebral palsy; General movements; Late preterm; Neurological outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis*
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Italy
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity