Importance Low-grade periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage is a common neurologic morbidity among extremely low-gestational-age neonates, yet the outcomes associated with this morbidity are not fully understood. In a contemporary multicenter cohort, we evaluated the impact of such hemorrhages on early (18-22 month) neurodevelopmental outcomes of extremely premature infants.
Objective To compare neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18 to 22 months' corrected age for extremely low-gestational-age infants with low-grade (grade 1 or 2) periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage with those of infants with either no hemorrhage or severe (grade 3 or 4) hemorrhage demonstrated on cranial ultrasonography.
Design Longitudinal observational study.
Setting Sixteen centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network.
Participants A total of 1472 infants born at less than 27 weeks' gestational age between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2008, with ultrasonography results within the first 28 days of life and surviving to 18 to 22 months with complete follow-up assessments were eligible.
Main Exposure Low-grade periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage.
Main Outcome Measures Outcomes included cerebral palsy; gross motor functional limitation; cognitive and language scores according to the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, 3rd Edition; and composite measures of neurodevelopmental impairment. Regression modeling evaluated the association of hemorrhage severity with adverse outcomes while controlling for potentially confounding variables and center differences.
Results Low-grade hemorrhage was not associated with significant differences in unadjusted or adjusted risk of any adverse neurodevelopmental outcome compared with infants without hemorrhage. Compared with low-grade hemorrhage, severe hemorrhage was associated with decreased adjusted continuous cognitive (β, −3.91 [95% CI, −6.41 to −1.42]) and language (β, −3.19 [−6.19 to −0.19]) scores as well as increased odds of each adjusted categorical outcome except severe cognitive impairment (odds ratio [OR], 1.46 [0.74 to 2.88]) and mild language impairment (OR, 1.35 [0.88 to 2.06]).
Conclusions and Relevance At 18 to 22 months, the neurodevelopmental outcomes of extremely low-gestational-age infants with low-grade periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage are not significantly different from those without hemorrhage. Additional study at school age and beyond would be informative.