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Acta Paediatr Scand. 1991 Aug-Sep;80(8-9):741-8.

Neonatal follow-up of very low birthweight/extremely low birthweight infants to school age: a critical overview.

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  • 1University of Toronto, Regional Perinatal Unit, Women's College Hospital, Canada.


Neonatal follow-up studies of school age children, published in the last decade, were critically reviewed. Nine studies examined extremely low birthweight infants (less than or equal to 1000 g) and 16 involved very low birthweight infants (less than or equal to 1500 g). The majority of children had age appropriate I.Q. scores, however, there was a greater variability of test scores. There was an increased need for special education or remedial therapy. Visual-motor integration deficits were frequently reported. Behavioural difficulties were described. Fine and gross motor incoordination was identified. There was no conclusive correlation between perinatal course and school outcome. Gender did appear to influence outcome, in the small percent of studies which examined this variable, with females generally faring better. Low socioeconomic status was the most frequently reported predictor of poor outcome. Identified methodological limitations included heterogeneous samples, lack of control groups, high attrition, variable diagnostic criteria and lack of consensus regarding correction for prematurity.

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