Objectives: The objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of early caffeine therapy started within the first 48 h of life on neurodevelopmental outcome in very low birth weight (VLBW) newborns.
Study design: VLBW newborns received either caffeine therapy within first 48 h of life (Early group), after 3rd day of life (Late group) or no caffeine during first month of life as per clinical team. A cohort of these newborns (n = 160) who survived were evaluated using Bayley Scale of Infant Development III (BSID III) developmental testing between 18 and 22 months of corrected age.
Results: VLBW newborns in the "Early group" had significantly better composite, cognitive, language and motor BSID III scores as compared to those in "Late group" and no caffeine group. Composite BSID III scores were unchanged in the presence or absence of chorioamnionitis for "Early group", while the BSID III scores were significantly lower in the presence of acute chorioamnionitis in "Late group" and no caffeine group.
Conclusions: Early caffeine therapy was associated with better BSID III scores in a cohort of VLBW newborns. Newborns with acute chorioamnionitis benefited from early caffeine therapy.
Keywords: Caffeine; VLBW; chorioamnionitis; neurodevelopmental outcome.