Prognostic factors for cerebral palsy and motor impairment in children born very preterm or very low birthweight: a systematic review

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2016 Jun;58(6):554-69. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12972. Epub 2016 Feb 10.


Aim: There is a large literature reporting risk factor analyses for poor neurodevelopment in children born very preterm (VPT: ≤32wks) or very low birthweight (VLBW: ≤1250g), which to date has not been formally summarized. The aim of this paper was to identify prognostic factors for cerebral palsy (CP) and motor impairment in children born VPT/VLBW.

Method: A systematic review was conducted using Medline, Embase, and Pyscinfo databases to identify studies published between 1 January 1990 and 1 June 2014 reporting multivariable prediction models for poor neurodevelopment in VPT/VLBW children (registration number CRD42014006943). Twenty-eight studies for motor outcomes were identified.

Results: There was strong evidence that intraventricular haemorrhage and periventricular leukomalacia, and some evidence that the use of postnatal steroids and non-use of antenatal steroids, were prognostic factors for CP. Male sex and gestational age were of limited use as prognostic factors for CP in cohorts restricted to ≤32 weeks gestation; however, in children older than 5 years with no major disability, there was evidence that male sex was a predictive factor for motor impairment.

Interpretation: This review has identified factors which may be of prognostic value for CP and motor impairment in VPT/VLBW children and will help to form the basis of future prognostic research.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / diagnosis
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Male
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis
  • Movement Disorders / epidemiology*