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Pediatr Res. 1997 Nov;42(5):665-9.

Diagnostic and predictive value of auditory evoked responses in preterm infants: I. Patient characteristics and long-term neurodevelopmental outcome.

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Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, University Hospital, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The diagnostic and predictive value of brainstem, middle latency, and cortical auditory evoked responses, obtained in the neonatal period, in 81 preterm infants was assessed in relation to neurodevelopmental outcome. Eighteen healthy term infants served as a control group. In this report the patient characteristics and neurodevelopmental outcome are presented. The preterm infants were neonatally classified according to risk category and gestational age. At 5 y of age the neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed based on neurologic and neuropsychologic evaluations. The neuropsychologic test results showed the highest IQ scores in term infants, intermediate IQ scores in low risk preterm infants, and lowest IQ scores in high risk preterm infants. The intermediate IQ scores in the low risk preterm group were due to significantly lower test scores in a small subgroup of low risk preterm infants. In a post hoc analysis 12 low risk preterm infants with an unfavorable outcome could be identified. The neuropsychologic test results of the remaining low risk infants showed no clear differences compared with the term infants. The results suggest that the unfavorable outcome of the low risk preterm group as a whole is due to moderate to severe impairment of the few, rather than slight impairment of the majority.

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