A prospective neurological and developmental assessment was completed at ages 6, 9, and 12 months on 39 preterm infants under 34 weeks' gestation. In the newborn period each infant had an assessment of gestation and sequential neurological and ultrasound examinations and was placed in one of three groups: intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) (n = 14), IVH followed by ventricular dilatation (n = 11), and control infants with no evidence of IVH (n = 14). When corrected for prematurity the Griffiths's developmental quotients (DQs) were normal at 6, 9, and 12 months for every infant except one aged 12 months. In contrast, the uncorrected DQs at 12 months were under 80 in only one of the 14 preterm infants without haemorrhage, compared with 2 of the 14 with IVH, and with 7 of the 9 with IVH and dilatation. There was also a higher incidence of neurological abnormality at each follow-up age in the infants with IVH plus ventricular dilatation, compared with those with IVH alone, or with infants without IVH. Similar differences were also demonstrated in 5 milestones reflecting gross motor, fine motor, and social or verbal development in the three groups at 6, 9, and 12 months. The neurological and developmental deficits seemed to relate more closely to the presence of post-haemorrhagic ventricular dilatation than to the size of the initial haemorrhage itself. These results may have important implications for therapeutic intervention in the management of newborn infants with IVH and ventricular dilatation.
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