Normal Cerebellar Growth by Using Three-dimensional US in the Preterm Infant from Birth to Term-corrected Age

Radiology. 2018 Jul;288(1):254-261. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2018171956. Epub 2018 Apr 3.


Purpose To establish cross-sectional and longitudinal reference values for cerebellar size in preterm infants with normal neuroimaging findings and normal 2-year neurodevelopmental outcome by using cranial ultrasonography (US). Materials and Methods This prospective study consecutively enrolled preterm infants admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit from June 2011 to June 2014 with a birth weight of less than or equal to 1500 g and/or gestational age (GA) of less than or equal to 32 weeks. They underwent weekly cranial US from birth to term-equivalent age and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging at term-equivalent age. The infants underwent neurodevelopmental assessments at age 2 years with Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, 3rd edition (BSID-III). Patients with adverse outcomes (death or abnormal neuroimaging findings and/or BSID-III score of <85) were excluded. The following measurements were performed: vermis height, craniocaudal diameter, superior width, inferior width, vermis area, and transcerebellar diameter. Statistical analyses were conducted by using multilevel analyses. Results A total of 137 infants with a mean GA at birth of 29.4 weeks (range, 25-32 weeks) were included. Transcerebellar diameter increased by 1.04 mm per week on average; vermis height and craniocaudal diameter increased by 0.55 mm and 0.59 mm, respectively. Superior vermian width increased by an average of 0.45 mm, whereas inferior vermian width increased by an average of 0.51 mm per week. Vermis area was found to increase by 0.22 cm2 per week on average. The sex effect was significant (female lower than male) for vermis height (P < .05), craniocaudal diameter (P < .05), inferior vermian width (P <. 05), and vermis area (P <. 05). Conclusion Cross-sectional and longitudinal reference values were established for cerebellar growth in preterm infants, which may be included in routine cranial US.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebellum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spain
  • Ultrasonography / methods*