Does duration of caffeine therapy in preterm infants born ≤1250 g at birth influence neurodevelopmental (ND) outcomes at 3 years of age?

J Perinatol. 2018 Jul;38(7):889-899. doi: 10.1038/s41372-018-0106-y. Epub 2018 May 8.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of duration of caffeine use on long-term neurodevelopmental (ND) outcomes at 3 years corrected age (CA) in preterm infants with birthweights (BW) ≤ 1250 g.

Design/methods: All surviving infants with BW ≤ 1250 g admitted to the Foothills Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from January 2002 to December 2009 who received the first dose of caffeine in the first week of life and were followed up at three years CA were included in the study. Demographics and follow-up outcomes were compared based on early cessation of caffeine ≤ 14 days (ECC), intermediate cessation of caffeine 15-30 days (ICC), and late cessation of caffeine >30 days (LCC). The primary outcome of ND impairment was present if a child had any one of the following: cerebral palsy, cognitive delay, visual impairment, or hearing impairment or deafness. Univariate and logistic regression analyses were performed.

Results: Of the 508 eligible infants, 448 (88%) were seen at 3 years CA at follow-up. ECC (n = 139), ICC (n = 122) and LCC (n = 187) groups had a median (range) BW of 979 (560-1250), 1010 (530-1250), and 980 (520-1250) g (p = 0.524) and median (range) gestational age (GA) of 27 (23-33), 28 (24-33), and 27 (24-32) weeks, respectively (p = 0.034). In logistic regression models adjusting for GA, maternal smoking, and each neonatal risk factor separately (IVH, NEC, sepsis, blood transfusions, BPD, postnatal dexamethasone, SNAP-II, and ventilator days), none of the models showed a statistically significant association between caffeine duration and ND impairment.

Conclusion: The duration of caffeine use in premature infants in the NICU does not impact on long-term ND outcomes at 3 years CA.

MeSH terms

  • Caffeine / therapeutic use*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Caffeine