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Arch Dis Child. 2004 Jul;89(7):637-43.

Can the Griffiths scales predict neuromotor and perceptual-motor impairment in term infants with neonatal encephalopathy?

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Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Campus, London, UK.



To examine the predictive value of early developmental testing for identifying neuromotor and perceptual-motor impairment at school age in children with neonatal encephalopathy (NE).


Eighty full term infants with NE were followed longitudinally. Where possible, children were tested on the Griffiths scales at 1 and 2 years and at 5-6 years, on the Touwen Examination, Movement ABC, and WPPSI. The relation between the Griffiths scores and later outcome measures was examined using correlation coefficients and sensitivity and specificity values.


By 2 years, 25 children with cerebral palsy were too severely impaired to be formally assessed and remained so at 5-6 years. Abnormal Griffiths scores were obtained by 12% and 7% of the children at 1 and 2 years respectively. At 5-6 years, 33% had poor Movement ABC scores and 15% poor WPPSI scores. The highest correlation between Griffiths scores and the outcome measures was for the Movement ABC (0.72), although this accounted for only 50% of the variance. Sensitivity scores for the Movement ABC were below 70% but specificity was 100%.


A poor score on the Griffiths scales at 1 and/or 2 years is a good predictor of impairment at school age. However, a normal score in the early years cannot preclude later neurological, perceptual-motor, or cognitive abnormalities.

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