Objective: To find out a few simple and easily elicitable items at three and six months of age that can predict neurodevelopmental outcome at one year in high risk babies.
Design: One year longitudinal follow up study.
Setting: Hospital based study including inborn and outborn infants discharged from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of a referral hospital, followed up in a High Risk Clinic.
Methods: Sixty high risk babies were followed up longitudinally for a period of one year. A detailed neurodevelopmental examination was done with special attention to the following items-axillary suspension, head support, social smile, disappearance of primitive reflexes and neurobehavior at three months age while pull to sit, rolling over, sitting momentarily without support, transfer of objects and voluntary reach were evaluated at six months age. Bayley Scales of Infant Development (Baroda Norms) was used for assessing the outcome at one year.
Results: Babies with absence of social smile, abnormal neurobehavior at three months and absent pulling to sit position, absent voluntary reach, and absent transfer of objects, remained delayed at one year. The specificity of each of these items was 100%. These items had a positive predictive value of 100%.
Conclusions: Inability to achieve social smile and abnormal neurobehavior at three months age and absence of pulling to sit position, transfer of objects and voluntary reach at six months age, warrant early intervention. These items are easy to elicit, do not require any special kit or elaborate training. Hence these items can be tested even by those working at the primary level or in office practice.