Neurological examination of preterm infants a term equivalent age

Daniela Ricci, Diego Romeo, L Haataja, Ic Van Haastert, Laura Cesarini, J Maunu, Marika Pane, Francesca Gallini, Rita Paola Maria Luciano, Costantino Romagnoli, Ls De Vries, Fm Cowan, Eugenio Maria Mercuri

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45 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: We previously reported the neurological findings of the Dubowitz neonatal examination in a cohort of 157 low-risk preterms born between 25 and 33 weeks gestational age (GA) and examined at term equivalent age (TEA). Median and range of scores were wider than those found in term-born infants and preterms showed a different neurological behaviour in specific items. However, the cohort number was too small to draw any definitive conclusion about the distribution of findings. AIMS: We provide normative data from a low-risk cohort of 380 preterm infants; we also assess the findings and their relationship to motor outcome in preterms with major cranial ultrasound (US) abnormality. STUDY DESIGN: We assessed, at TEA, 380 low-risk preterms born <35 weeks gestation (range 25-34.9, median 29) with normal 2 year motor outcome and 85 preterm infants with major US abnormality. RESULTS: At TEA low-risk preterms had less flexor limb tone, poorer head control but better visual following than term-born infants. For 28/34 of the neurological items the range and median scores were similar across gestational ages. In infants with major US lesions the range and median scores differed from low-risk preterms in 20/34 items; 40% of infants developing a diplegia and 80% developing a tetraplegia had >7 items outside the 90th centile; all infants with >12 items outside the 90th centile developed a tetraplegia. CONCLUSIONS: We provide reference values for the neurological examination of low-risk preterms at TEA. In infants with major US abnormality the number of items outside the 90th centile was an indicator of outcome severity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-761
Number of pages11
JournalEarly Human Development
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Neurological examination preterm infants


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