A longitudinal study of developmental outcome of infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and very low birth weight

Pediatrics. 1997 Dec;100(6):987-93. doi: 10.1542/peds.100.6.987.


Objective: Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is now the leading cause of lung disease in US infants. In a large regional cohort, we tested the hypothesis that despite innovations in neonatal care, very low birth weight (VLBW) infants (<1500 g) with BPD had poorer developmental outcomes than nonaffected infants during the first 3 years of life, and that BPD predicted poorer outcome beyond the effects of other risk factors.

Methods: Three groups of infants (122 with BPD, 84 VLBW without BPD, and 123 full-term) were followed longitudinally to 3 years of age with the Bayley Scales of Mental and Motor Development. Comparison groups of VLBW infants without BPD and full-term infants did not differ in sex, race, or socioeconomic status. Statistical analyses included hierarchical and stepwise multiple regression.

Results: Infants with BPD performed more poorly at all ages. By 3 years, cognitive and/or motor development was in the range of retardation (<70 standard score) for 21% to 22% of infants with BPD. In multiple regression analyses controlling for socioeconomic and neonatal risk conditions, BPD had an independent negative effect on motor outcome at 3 years. Neurologic risk, a summary measure of neurologic problems other than intraventricular hemorrhage, and the presence of BPD independently predicted motor delay. By 3 years, social class, race, and neurologic risk predicted mental outcome, suggesting that the specific effects of BPD are primarily on the motor domain.

Conclusions: In VLBW infants, BPD predicts poorer motor outcome at 3 years, after control for other risks. Cohorts of infants with BPD also had higher rates of mental retardation, associated with greater neurologic and social risk. These findings underscore the need for intensive prevention and habilitation efforts for this growing group of VLBW survivors, as well as investigation into the potential role of BPD in the higher rates of learning disabilities in VLBW cohorts at school age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / complications*
  • Child Development
  • Developmental Disabilities / ethnology
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Intellectual Disability / ethnology
  • Intellectual Disability / etiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Minority Groups
  • Motor Skills Disorders / ethnology
  • Motor Skills Disorders / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class