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Med Wieku Rozwoj. 2012 Jul-Sep;16(3):222-31.

[Intellectual and motor development of extremely low birth weight (≤1000 g) children in the 7th year of life; a multicenter, cross-sectional study of children born in the Malopolska voivodship between 2002 and 2004].

[Article in Polish]

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Klinika Chorób Dzieci Katedry Pediatrii WL UJ, ul. Wielicka 265, 30-663 Kraków.



A better understanding of the developmental problems in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) preterm infants may enhance their chances of proper adaptation to their environment and make it possible to retrospectively assess perinatal and neonatal methods of treatment. The aim of the study was to evaluate the cognitive and motor development of ELBW children born from 2002 to 2004 in the 7th year of life. Based on these results and perinatal mortality data, it was established what chance the children have to live free of severe complications.


Two hundred and four alive newborns with birth weight .1000 g were born in the Malopolska voivodship between 1.09.2002 and 31.08.2004. One hundred and fifteen children (56%) died in early infancy. The study included 81 (91%) children out of the 89 surviving ones. Their mean gestational age at birth was 27.3 weeks. (SD: 2.1 weeks) and their mean birth weight was 840g (SD: 130g). Neurosensory disturbances were assessed in all the children and their cognitive development was evaluated with the use of the WISC-R (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children . Revised) scale. The children were divided into 3 groups: group I . normal development (full motor capacity and IQ >84 points and no vision or hearing impairment), group II . mild or moderate impairment (cerebral palsy level I, II or III according to the Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMCS], or IQ 40-84 points, or abnormal vision or hearing, or signs of the hyperactivity syndrome), group III . severe impairment (cerebral palsy level IV, and/or IQ <40 points, or deafness/blindness).


Forty-five (56%) children were included in group I, 25 (30%) in group II and 11 (14%) in group III. Moreover, other neurologic abnormalities, such as uneven development, problems with concentration, or abnormal grapho-motor ability were highly prevalent in the group of ELBW children. The incidence of cerebral palsy in the population studied was 16%, the incidence of deafness and severe hearing impairment was 11%, and blindness and severe vision impairment . 12%. In general, the chance of survival free of severe complications was merely 15% in children with birthweight .700 g, 28% in children with birth weight 701- 800 g, 45% in children with birth weight 801-900 g, and 62% in children with birth weight 901-1000 g.


1. The data gathered in a regional study may yield valuable information useful in assessing the prognosis of the general health status of ELBW newborns. 2. Most of the children present uneven development, problems with concentration, or abnormal grapho-motor ability, which may be a cause of learning problems and abnormal relationships with peers. 3. A follow-up study up to adulthood is required for this group of ELBW newborns.

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