Reduction in developmental coordination disorder with neonatal caffeine therapy

J Pediatr. 2014 Aug;165(2):356-359.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.04.016. Epub 2014 May 17.


Objective: To determine the effect of neonatal caffeine treatment on rates of developmental coordination disorder (DCD).

Study design: Children in the Caffeine for Apnea of Prematurity trial were assessed for motor performance (Movement Assessment Battery for Children [MABC]), clinical signs of cerebral palsy, and Full-Scale IQ at 5 years of age by staff who were unaware of the children's treatment group. DCD was defined as MABC<5th percentile in children with a Full-Scale IQ>69 who did not have a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

Results: There were 1433 children with known MABC corrected-age percentile as well as known Full-Scale IQ at 5 years and cerebral palsy status, of whom 735 had been randomly assigned to caffeine and 698 to placebo therapy. The rate of DCD was lower in those treated with caffeine (11.3%) than in the placebo group (15.2%) (OR adjusted for center and baseline covariates, 0.71, 95% CI, 0.52-0.97; P=.032).

Conclusions: Neonatal caffeine therapy for apnea of prematurity reduces the rate of DCD at 5 years of age. As more children have DCD than have cerebral palsy, this is an important additional benefit from neonatal caffeine treatment.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apnea / complications
  • Apnea / drug therapy*
  • Caffeine / therapeutic use*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Motor Skills Disorders / complications
  • Motor Skills Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Caffeine