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Impaired brain growth and neurodevelopment in preterm infants with posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation

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Aim:  To correlate volumetric magnetic resonance imaging at term with neurodevelopmental outcome at 2 years in infants with posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation. Preterm infants with posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation have high risk of disabilities, but the range is wide and predicting severity of motor and mental disability is difficult.

Methods:  Twenty‐five preterm infants with posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation had cerebral magnetic resonance imaging at term age. Total and regional brain volumes were calculated using a manual segmentation technique. Bayley Scales of Infant Development II were assessed at 2 years post‐term. Developmental Quotients (DQ) were calculated from Developmental Age Equivalent scores.

Results:  Total cerebral volume, excluding ventricles, correlated positively with Motor (r = 0.7, p < 0.0001) and Mental DQ (r = 0.4, p = 0.02). Only three of 16 infants with cerebral volume <336 cm3 were ambulant at 2 years. Cerebellar volumes correlated strongly with Motor DQ (r = 0.6, p = 0.002) but only with Mental DQ after adjustment. Thalamic volumes correlated strongly with Motor DQ (r = 0.7, p = 0.0002).

Conclusion:  Brain growth is significantly impaired in posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation. Volumetric measurements at term of total cerebral and cerebellar volume may have a role in predicting severity of disability.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: .School of Clinical Science, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK 2: .NICU, University Department of Mother and Infant Sciences, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy 3: .Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Giannina Gaslini Paediatric Institute, Genoa, Italy

Publication date: July 1, 2012


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