To study neurodevelopmental outcome in a two year cohort of extremely low birthweight (ELBW) infants at 18 months corrected age, to compare the development of the ELBW infant subcohort with that of control children, and to find risk factors associated with unfavourable outcome.
All 211 surviving ELBW infants (birth weight
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A total of 142 infants with birthweights of less than 1000 g were examined at the age of 4 y by a child neurologist, by a neuropsychologist and by an occupational therapist in order to establish the rate of neurological disorders. A total of 57 (40%) of the children had normal neurological development, 52 (37%) had minor neurological disorders, 27 (19%) were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and 6 (4%) were mentally retarded (IQ
The objective of the series was to study the effect of prenatal dexamethasone therapy on the growth and neurological development of preterm children until the age of 2 years. Eighty-two children with a mean gestational age of 30 (24-33) weeks and a mean weight of 1291 (530-2360) g at birth, treated antenatally with either dexamethasone (n = 50) or placebo (n = 32), were examined at the adjusted age of 24 months by a paediatric neurologist, a neuropsychologist and a speech therapist. Neurological development was defined as normal if all scores of neuropaediatric, neuropsychological and verbal tests were within the normal range. Normal neurological development was found in 52% of the dexamethasone-treated and in 34% of the placebo-treated children. The incidence of cerebral palsy was 10% in the dexamethasone group and 22% in the placebo group. Minor developmental delay was found in 42% of dexamethasone-treated and in 53% of placebo-treated children. Our follow-up results indicate that the beneficial effect of prenatal glucocorticoid treatment on cerebral complications (intraventricular haemorrhage or periventricular leucomalacia) demonstrated during the neonatal period may be followed by a lower incidence of cerebral palsy in surviving premature children.