Aim: To compare the impact of low-grade haemorrhage on neurocognitive function in 16-year-old adolescents born preterm, by grade of intraventricular haemorrhage, and term controls.
Methods: We evaluated 338 preterm adolescents (birth weight 600-1250 g) for intelligence, executive function and memory tasks. Eleven had grade 3-4 haemorrhage, 44 had grade 2, 31 had grade 1, and 251 had no haemorrhage. Group comparisons were made with 102 term age-matched controls, and regression models used to identify the risk that low-grade haemorrhage posed for cognitive, executive function and memory deficits.
Results: Preterm adolescents with grade 2 haemorrhage had higher deficit rates of verbal intelligence, receptive vocabulary, phonemic fluency, cognitive flexibility and phonological fluency than preterm adolescents with grade 1 or no haemorrhage, compared with term controls. After excluding preterm adolescents with both grade 2 haemorrhage and cystic periventricular leukomalacia, those with isolated grade 2 haemorrhage remained at greater risk of cognitive and executive function deficits than term controls and of cognitive deficits than preterm adolescents with no haemorrhage.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that preterm adolescents born in the early 1990s with isolated grade 2 haemorrhage are at increased risk of learning challenges, including cognitive and executive function deficits.
Keywords: Adolescents; Cognitive function; Executive function; Intraventricular haemorrhage; Prematurity.
©2014 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.