Aims There is evidence that infants delivered moderately prematurely are at increased risk of neurodevelopmental problems compared with their term counterparts. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of cranial ultrasound (CUS) anomalies in this cohort and direct changes to unit policy regarding screening.
Methods Infants delivered between 32–35+6 weeks gestation from 2011–2012 were identified using the hospital database. The diagnosis of IVH or PVL was taken from the official report by the consultant paediatric radiologist. Demographic details including gender, gestation, birth weight and multiplicity were gathered.
Results 151 of 395 infants (38%) had at least one CUS. 9.3%(n = 14) were reported as having an abnormal CUS. The incidence of severe anomalies (defined as Grade III or IV IVH or PVL) was 4% (n = 6). Details of these cases can be seen in table 1. Isolated IUGR, isolated prematurity, uncomplicated multiple birth and a gestational age of greater than 34 weeks were not associated with a severe abnormality.
Conclusions Our study found a 4% severe anomaly rate in moderately preterm infants screened with CUS. But we found the infants in our study with a severe anomaly had clinically significant indications for scanning other than their prematurity and we believe they would have required scanning no matter their gestational age. These results suggest targeted screening may have been adequate to identify those at high risk. Further studies are required to delineate the true overall rate of CUS abnormalities in late preterm infants and to correlate these with neurodevelopmental outcomes.