Preterm very low birth weight infants (VLBWi) are known to be at greater risk of adverse neurodevelopmental outcome. Identifying early factors associated with outcome is essential in order to refer patients for early intervention. Few studies have investigated neurodevelopmental outcome in Italian VLBWi. The aim of our longitudinal study is to describe neurodevelopmental outcome at 24 months of corrected age in an eleven-year cohort of 502 Italian preterm VLBWi and to identify associations with outcome. At 24 months, Griffiths’ Mental Developmental Scales were administered. Neurodevelopmental outcome was classified as: normal, minor sequelae (minor neurological signs, General Quotient between 76 and 87), major sequelae (cerebral palsy; General Quotient ≤ 75; severe sensory impairment). 75.3% showed a normal outcome, 13.9% minor sequelae and 10.8% major sequelae (3.8% cerebral palsy). Male gender, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, abnormal neonatal neurological assessment and severe brain ultrasound abnormalities were independently associated with poor outcome on multivariate ordered logistic regression. Rates of major sequelae are in line with international studies, as is the prevalence of developmental delay over cerebral palsy. Analysis of perinatal complications and the combination of close cUS monitoring and neurological assessment are still essential for early identification of infants with adverse outcome.
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