Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 90:F60-F63 doi:10.1136/adc.2004.059188
  • Original article

Perinatal and postnatal factors in very preterm infants and subsequent cognitive and motor abilities

  1. R W I Cooke
  1. Department of Child Health, University of Liverpool, Neonatal Unit, Liverpool Maternity Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor Cooke
    Department of Child Health, University of Liverpool, Neonatal Unit, Liverpool Maternity Hospital, Liverpool L8 7SS, UK;
  • Accepted 8 September 2004


Background: Many children born very preterm have cognitive and minor motor problems later, even if attending mainstream schools.

Objective: To examine associations between this suboptimal performance and perinatal and postnatal clinical factors.

Participants and methods: A geographically determined cohort of 280 infants born at less than 32 weeks gestation in 1991–92 in Liverpool, free of major disability and attending mainstream school at 7 years of age. A perinatal and postnatal data set were obtained from the clinical records retrospectively. Measurements of height, weight, and head circumference at 7 years were made, together with assessments of intelligence (Wechsler intelligence scale for children, IQ) and motor impairment (Movement assessment battery for children, MABC).

Results: Multiple regression analysis showed IQ at 7 years to be independently significantly related to gestation, persistence of the arterial duct (PDA), and head circumference at 7 years. MABC was only significantly related to gestation. PDA was related to periventricular haemorrhage (OR 2.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3 to 5.8) and parenchymal lesions including ventriculomegaly (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.5 to 11.4).

Conclusion: Cognitive ability in children born preterm is significantly related to gestation, but may also be related to the effects of PDA on early brain development, through either periventricular haemorrhage/ventriculomegaly or other disturbance of early brain growth.


  • Competing interests: none declared

Latest from Education & Practice

Latest from Education & Practice

Register for free content

Free sample
This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of ADC Fetal & Neonatal.
View free sample issue >>

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the articles as they are published.

Navigate This Article