Ten-year follow-up of children born before 29 gestational weeks: health, cognitive development, behaviour and school achievement

Authors

  • K Stjernqvist,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden
    2. Lund University and Department of Paediatrics, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden
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  • NW Svenningsen

    1. Lund University and Department of Paediatrics, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden
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    • Deceased 30 January 1998.


Karin Stjernqvist, Department of Psychology, Lund University, S-22100 Lund, Sweden (Tel. 46-46 172987, fax. 46 46 145459, Karin.Stjernqvist@itp.lu.se)

Abstract

Since the mid-1990s several studies have reported poor school performance in extremely preterm infants. The necessity to provide a full picture of the child's situation has been indicated. In a southern Swedish population 32 120 infants were born during the 2-y period 1985-1986. In total, 121 infants (0.4%) were reported liveborn before the 29th gestational wk and 12 (0.04%) were reported stillborn. Only 65 infants (50%) survived to the age of 10 y. The aim of this study was to evaluate the situation of extremely preterm (EPT) children at school, compared with that of full-term (FT) control children, at the age of 10 y. Health, cognitive development, school achievement and behaviour were measured. Ninety-two percent of the preterm children had no major neurological disability and most were in good health. The EPT children had an IQ of 90 ± 15 vs 106 ±15 (mean ± SD) for the FT children (p < 0.001), and on the test of Visual-Motor Integration, the EPT children had 93.3 ± 12.2 vs 109.6 ± 14.2 for FT peers (p < 0.001). On both tests the differences between the groups corresponded to approximately one standard deviation. Thirty-eight percent of the EPT children performed below grade level at school. Thirty-two percent had general behavioural problems and 20% had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, compared with 10% and 8%, respectively, in the FT group. EPT children require interventions to support their development and reduce behavioural problems. □Behaviour, development, extremely preterm, follow-up, health, school achievement

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