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Aust Paediatr J. 1989 Oct;25(5):288-91.

Selective improvement in cognitive test scores of extremely low birthweight infants aged between 2 and 5 years.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.


The cognitive development at 2 and 5 years of a cohort of extremely low birthweight (ELBW) children (birthweight 500-999 g) was compared with that of cohorts of larger very low birthweight (VLBW) children (birthweight 1000-1500 g) and normal birthweight (NBW) children (birthweight greater than 2500 g) to determine whether the improvements in cognitive function of ELBW infants between 2 and 5 years are apparent or real. At 2 years of age, ELBW children had a mean Mental Developmental Index (MDI) on the Bayley Scales of 90.4, significantly lower than the means of 100.3 for the larger VLBW children (P = 0.006), and 107.8 for the NBW children (P = 0.0002). However by 5 years the mean scores on the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence (WPPSI) full-scale for the ELBW and larger VLBW children were virtually identical (105.9 and 106.0 respectively)--but still lower than the mean WPPSI full-scale of 114.6 for the NBW children. After standardizing the MDI and WPPSI scores relative to the NBW children, the ELBW children improved between 2 and 5 years (paired t-test, t = 3.2, P = 0.004) whereas the larger VLBW infants did not. We postulate that ELBW children require more time than larger VLBW children after birth to compensate for perinatal and other stresses, and that developmental delay at 2 years may not always persist to 5 years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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