Twenty-six very low birthweight infants (VLBI) were treated for necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). We investigated their consecutive health problems and psychosocial development.
Method: One to 13 years after onset of NEC, follow-up studies were performed in 12 of the surviving children. Identical follow-up studies were performed in 6 VLBI who had been operated on for diseases other than NEC (control group). We used a detailed interview, a Denver test and a drawing test.
Results: Five children of the NEC group had major persistent health problems that impaired their psychomotoric and psychosocial development (including hearing impairment, concomitant strabismus, early onset bronchial asthma). Nine of 12 VLBI of the NEC group showed signs of reduced social contact, logopaedic problems and minimal partial skill reductions.
Conclusion: We found similar results in both children who suffered from NEC and in a small control group of VLBI who had not suffered from NEC, therefore impaired psychomotoric and psychosocial development is probably due to prematurity.