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Early Hum Dev. 2001 Nov;65 Suppl:S119-32.

Neurodevelopment of neonates in neonatal intensive care units and growth of surviving infants at age 2 years.

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Department of Paediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Granada, Spain.



The presence of development disorders in neonates attended in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is highly variable; the aim of this study, therefore, was to determine the evolution of somatic and neurosensory development in a group of neonates requiring treatment in the NICU and to analyse the perinatal and developmental aspects of children presenting abnormalities.


A total of 492 neonates (275 premature, 106 with birthweight < or =1500 g), who were treated in the NICU between January 1994 and December 1997, were followed-up until the age of 2 years. Data were obtained concerning birthweight, body length, head circumference, gestational age, normality of weight for gestational age, single/multiple birth, duration of stay in the NICU and the hospital, duration of mechanically assisted respiration and evolutive somatometry, neurological examination and the Brunet-Lezine development test, adjusted for the gestational age of the neonates, at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. When abnormal results were detected, Early Attention (EA) programmes were applied.


Somatometry at birth in relation to gestational age revealed a weekly weight gain of 8.6%, an increase in body length of 1% and in head circumference of 1% (p<0.001). The evolution of somatic development to the age of 2 years showed that neonates with a birthweight < or =1500 g did not reach the values of neonates with a greater birthweight. The prevalence of cerebral palsy among all neonates was 6.8%, 14.6% among those weighing < or =1500 g, 4% among those weighing 1501-2500 g and 5% among those weighing >2500 g. The overall rate of neurosensory injury was 10.5%. These neonates presented less somatic development than those did with no neurologic disorder. To sum up, most of the neonates attended in the NICU during the 1990s presented a normal pattern of development. Nevertheless, they should be the object of special attention during the first years of life, particularly those neonates with a birthweight < or =1500 g and those presenting neurosensory risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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