Minerva Pediatr (Torino). 2023 Sep 6. doi: 10.23736/S2724-5276.23.07360-3. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Despite recent improvements, premature infants remain at high risk for long-term morbidity and poorer neurodevelopment, particularly very preterm (VP) and very low birth weight (VLBW). The aim of this study was to describe neurodevelopmental outcomes at two years and identify potential predictors of worse performance.
METHODS: In a retrospective cohort, a two-years’ neurodevelopmental evaluation was analyzed. Multivariable regressions were used to study the association of perinatal history with neurodevelopmental outcomes. Subjects included VP and/or VLBW born at a Portuguese III-level perinatal center between 2011-2017. Milestones outcomes were assessed using the Griffiths’ Mental Development Scales.
RESULTS: One hundred seventy-seven infants were included. Two-years milestones were not achieved in 18.6% in language domain and 7.3% in motor function, 4.5% wore glasses and 1.1% auditory prosthesis/cochlear implant. Almost 30% needed intervention, 18.6% occupational therapy, 16.4% physiotherapy and 13.6% speech therapy. Griffiths’ Mental Development Scales was performed in 139, with a mean global quotient of 98.3 and hearing/speech as the least quoted scale. Global development delay (GDD) was present in 14.8% and cerebral palsy in 2.8%. Multivariate analysis by logistic regression adjusted to gestational age, birth weight and confounding variables, revealed a statistically significant association between GDD and hydrocephalus with shunt/reservoir (OR:19.01), retinopathy of prematurity stage ≥2 (OR:7.86) and neonatal sepsis (OR:3.34).
CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with recent studies, preterm are at increased risk of neurodevelopmental impairment, mainly due to GDD and language delay, rather than cerebral palsy. In this population, hydrocephalus, retinopathy of prematurity and neonatal sepsis were strongly associated with poorer outcomes. Insight into these factors is essential to refer patients for specific early intervention programs.