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Med J Aust. 1987 Nov 16;147(10):476-81.

Extremely-low-birthweight infants: neurological, psychological, growth and health status beyond five years of age.

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University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC.


Of 60 consecutive survivors of birth weight 500-999 g, who were born in one tertiary perinatal centre from 1977 to 1980, 59 infants were assessed by a multidisciplinary team at two years of age (corrected for prematurity) and 58 children were evaluated when aged at least five years. At the latter examination, 9% of the 58 children who were assessed were severely disabled; 17% had a mild or moderate disability; and 74% had no important disability. For the 53 children who were tested, the means for the three scales of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence were just above the test mean. The psychologist noted behavioural problems during her assessment in 50% of children, and 29% of mothers reported behavioural problems which could interfere with schooling. At the age of five years and over, five (9%) children had cerebral palsy and one child was deaf. Twenty-two (38%) children had a visual impairment, although only one child was blind; the detection of retinopathy of prematurity in the nursery was an important risk factor. Health problems with readmissions to hospital and suboptimal growth were present in many children at two years of age and frequently these problems persisted to five years of age. Although only four (7%) children were too disabled to attend a normal school, apprehension exists that many of the other children may later encounter educational difficulties. At the two-years' assessment, ascertainment of cerebral palsy had not been complete or entirely accurate and the Mental Developmental Index of the Bayley Scale tended to underestimate the later psychological performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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