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Acta Paediatr. 2013 May;102(5):492-7. doi: 10.1111/apa.12191. Epub 2013 Mar 4.

Predictive value of neonatal brain MRI on the neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm infants by 5 years of age.

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Department of Pediatric Neurology, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.



To study the prognostic value of MRI in preterm infants at term equivalent age for cognitive development at 5 years of age.


A total of 217 very low birth weight/very low gestational age infants who all received brain MRI at term equivalent age were categorized into 4 groups based on the brain MRI findings. Cognitive development was assessed at 5 years of chronological age by using a short form of Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence - Revised. This information was combined with neurosensory diagnoses by 2 years of corrected age.


Of all infants 31 (17.0%) had Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) <85, 14 (6.5%) had cerebral palsy and 4 (1.8%) had severe hearing impairment. A total of 41 (22.0%) infants had some neurodevelopmental impairment at 5 years of age. Considering cognitive outcome (FSIQ <85), the positive predictive value of several major MRI pathologies was 43.8%, and the negative predictive value of normal finding or minor pathologies was 92.0% and 85.7%, respectively.


The MRI of the brain at term equivalent age may be valuable in predicting neurodevelopmental outcome in preterm infants by 5 years of age. The findings should always be interpreted alongside the clinical information of the infant. Furthermore, MRI should not replace a long-term clinical follow-up for very preterm infants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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