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Over the last few decades there has been an increasing need to identify appropriate instruments for the assessment of infants in the intensive care unit and in their follow-up. The advent of more and more sophisticated neuroimaging and neurophysiological techniques has revealed the complexity of the mechanisms underlying the maturation of different neural functions, and the even more complex mechanisms of possible plasticity following neonatal brain lesions. Those who are involved in the care and follow-up of preterm infants in a neonatal intensive care unit know how difficult it is to address the hundreds of questions raised by anxious parents of infants admitted, especially when brain lesions are present.

‘Beyond the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’ edited by de Vries and van Haastert Amersfoot addresses many of these concerns by illustrating a collection of clinical cases of preterm infants followed for several years. The book continues the format of the previous ‘Atlas of Brain Disorders’ co-edited by Linda de Vries over 20 years ago together with other authors, including Lilly Dubowitz, to whom the current book is dedicated, updating the methods with more recent techniques, and with the wonderful addition of video clips illustrating the neurodevelopmental progress.

The strength of the book is that the authors have been involved in all the steps of the assessment from the first days in the intensive care unit to the long-term follow-up. The quality and the quantity of data longitudinally collected are very impressive with very good quality ultra-sound and magnetic resonance imaging in a montage with electrophysiological tests and clinical information that clearly highlight the importance of a combined approach. Each of these techniques provide useful information that, when combined, not only provides early indicators of bad and good outcome but also indicates the chances of developing specific difficulties related to different areas of the brain. Although the children were generally followed in clinic until school age, the video clips contain interviews with some of them as young adults explaining how they have been coping with different levels of disability.

‘Beyond the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’ covers the most common brain lesions encountered in a neonatal intensive care unit from haemorrhages and white matter injuries in preterm infants, to strokes and lesions following perinatal asphyxia in full-term infants.

The book is important because it not only provides a multidimensional view of the lesions and of their possible outcome, but also highlights the need for a detailed follow-up and the importance of a combined team to assess different aspects of development. This information appears to be important at a time when financial restraints progressively decrease the number of children included in structured follow-up or its duration.

This comprehensive atlas is a must-read for all the professionals involved in the intensive care unit and in follow-up. But with the easy-to-use format with images and video clips, it can also be profitably read by parents and students.