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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2000 Jan;42(1):53-60.

Severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia increases risk for later neurological and motor sequelae in preterm survivors.

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  • 1School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Department of Pediatrics, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University, Quebec, Canada.


Preterm children who develop severe chronic lung disease may be developmentally compromised by exposure to hypoxic episodes. This study aims to determine if children with severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) who required home oxygen therapy were at greater risk for neurological and motor deficits at school age than preterm peers without BPD. This study evaluated 27 subjects with BPD and 27 preterm control infants matched for gestational age, birthweight, sex, and year of birth at a mean age of 9.9 years (2.0 SD) using standardized neuromotor outcome measures. Pair-matched comparisons and regression analyses were used to determine if subjects with BPD were at increased risk for neuromotor sequelae. Neurological abnormalities, including subtle neurological signs, cerebral palsy, microcephaly, and behavioral difficulties were highly prevalent in the BPD group (71% compared with 19% in control group, P<0.005). Over half the BPD cohort had difficulties in gross and/or fine motor skills. There were significant differences in postural stability between groups. Duration of hospitalization and home oxygen treatment, and decreased lung function at school age, markers of severity of illness, correlated with motor outcomes. The findings underline the importance of preventing the cardiorespiratory complications associated with chronic lung disease to minimize disability in preterm children. For children with severe BPD, better recognition and subsequent remediation of neuromotor impairments that manifest at school age may help maximize their functional potential.

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