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Keywords:

  • Follow-up studies;
  • Neurodevelopmental outcome;
  • Premature infant;
  • Social-environmental risk factors

Abstract

Aim:  To describe the development of very preterm children free of cerebral palsy or severe sensory impairment in the domains of gross and fine motor functions, language and sociability at a corrected age of 2 years; to identify factors associated with performances in each domain.

Methods:  A total of 347 children born in 1997 before 33 weeks of gestation, part of the EPIPAGE population-based cohort study, had their psychomotor development assessed with the Brunet-Lezine scale.

Results:  The study population had a mean gestational age of 30.1 ± 2.0 weeks. Lower developmental quotients (DQ) were observed in the study group compared to the reference sample (96 ± 13 vs 104 ± 8, p < 0.01). Fine motor function, language and sociability were all affected with a p value <0.01. Multivariate analysis showed that duration of intubation and parents’ educational and occupational levels were the only variables significantly related to each developmental domain (p < 0.01).

Conclusions:  Children very preterm and free of severe disabilities had mild delays in multiple areas of development. The mechanisms by which neonatal factors played a role need further investigation. However socioeconomic status had a great impact on development and our results underline the need for improved support of socioeconomically disadvantaged parents after a preterm birth.