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Z Geburtshilfe Neonatol. 2008 Apr;212(2):57-63. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1004763.

[Gaussian distribution of intelligence in VLBW preterm infants at age 5: very low correlation with very low birth weight].

[Article in German]

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Kinderklinik der Freien Universität, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin.



Preterm infants with very low birth weight < 1500 g (VLBW) have a higher risk of developmental disorders. In addition to the common estimation of the mean intelligence values, we studied the distribution of intelligence at preschool age in VLBW infants and the risk factors influencing this distribution.


A prospective cohort study of 277 VLBW infants < 32 weeks born in 1991-1995 and treated according to a standardized regimen in one Perinatal Center was carried out, including measurement of intelligence (Kaufman-Assessment Battery for Children) at age 5. Statistical methods employed were: explorative data analysis, correlation, chi (2)- and t-tests; the tested variables were: small for gestational age (< third percentile), perinatal acidemia (umbilical arterial pH < 7.10), perinatal hypoxia (BE < - 10), hypothermia (< 36 degrees C), hypoglycemia after the first day of life (< 30 mg / dL), bronchopulmonary dysplasia (FiO (2) > 0.21 > or = 36 weeks), intraventricular hemorrhage, ventricular dilation, periventricular leukomalacia, seizures, abnormal acoustic evoked potentials, and hyperexcitability at discharge.


The distribution of intelligence in 137 VLBW infants < 32 weeks (60 % follow-up rate) was similar to a symmetrical Gaussian bell curve. The intelligence increased very slightly with birth weight (Pearson correlation: 0.172; p = 0.045) and was significantly lower in children with hypoglycemia after the first day of life (- 13.35; 95 % confidence interval: - 20.08 to - 6.63; p = 0.002), hyperexcitability at discharge (- 16.28; 95 % confidence interval: - 25.26 to - 7.31; p = 0.005), and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (- 7.00; 95 % confidence interval - 11.71 to - 2.29; p = 0.039).


At preschool age, the intelligence of VLBW infants is normally distributed and correlates only slightly with the very low birth weight. Hypoglycemia after the first day of life and bronchopulmonary dysplasia are risk factors for lower intelligence. Hyperexcitability at discharge seemed to represent a promising prognostic factor for a later intelligence reduction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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