Cognitive outcome in childhood after unilateral perinatal brain injury


Correspondence to Professor Dr Linda S de Vries, Department of Neonatology, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, UMC Utrecht, KE 04.123.1, PO Box 85090, 3508 AB Utrecht, the Netherlands. E-mail:



The aim of the study was to assess cognitive outcome in children with periventricular haemorrhagic infarction (PVHI) or perinatal arterial ischaemic stroke (PAIS) and relate these findings to early developmental outcome and neonatal magnetic resonance imaging findings.


A neuropsychological assessment was performed in 50 children (26 males, 24 females) with unilateral PVHI (n=21) or PAIS (n=29) at a median age of 11 years 9 months (range 6–20y). This included tests for intelligence, verbal memory, visual–motor integration, word comprehension, attention, reaction times, and executive function. The Griffiths Mental Development Scale was used for early developmental assessment at 24 months (range 18–32mo).


In children with PVHI, both the early Griffiths scores (mean 87; 95% CI 83–92) and the Full-scale IQ (FSIQ) scores at school age (mean 86; 95% CI 78–94) were below the test mean of 100. In the PAIS group, early Griffiths scores were within the normal range (mean 98; 95% CI 93–104), but at school age FSIQ scores were below average (mean 87; 95% CI 80–94). In children with PVHI, FSIQ scores correlated with the level of maternal education and were lower after ventricular dilatation, whereas both involvement of the basal ganglia and thalami and development of postneonatal epilepsy were associated with lower cognitive outcome in children who had experienced PAIS.


Cognitive outcome after PVHI or PAIS is below average, but still within 1SD for most children. Prediction of cognitive outcome remains challenging, but some early predictors can be recognized.