Objective: To evaluate bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), serious brain injury, and severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) as predictors of poor long-term outcome in very low birth weight infants.
Study design: We examined the associations between counts of the 3 morbidities and long-term outcomes in 1514 of 1791 (85%) infants with birth weights of 500-1250 g who were enrolled in the Caffeine for Apnea of Prematurity trial from October 1999, to October 2004, had complete morbidity data, and were alive at 36 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA). BPD was defined as use of supplemental oxygen at 36 weeks PMA. Serious brain injury on cranial ultrasound included grade 3 and 4 hemorrhage, cystic periventricular leucomalacia, porencephalic cysts, or ventriculomegaly of any cause. Poor long-term outcome was death after 36 weeks PMA or survival to 5 years with 1 or more of the following disabilities: motor impairment, cognitive impairment, behavior problems, poor general health, deafness, and blindness.
Results: BPD, serious brain injury, and severe ROP occurred in 43%, 13%, and 6% of the infants, respectively. Each of the 3 morbidities was similarly and independently correlated with poor 5-year outcome. Rates of death or disability (95% CI) in children with none, any 1, any 2, and all 3 morbidities were 11.2% (9.0%-13.7%), 22.9% (19.6%-26.5%), 43.9% (35.5%-52.6%), and 61.5% (40.6%-79.8%), respectively.
Conclusions: In very low birth weight infants who survive to 36 weeks PMA, a count of BPD, serious brain injury, and severe ROP predicts the risk of a late death or survival with disability at 5 years.
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