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School-age outcomes following intraventricular haemorrhage in infants born extremely preterm
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  • Published on:
    Reply to Cowan et al
    • Jeanie LY Cheong, Neonatologist Royal Women's Hospital Melbourne, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, University of Melbourne
    • Other Contributors:
      • Alicia J Spittle, Physiotherapist
      • Peter J Anderson, Psychologist
      • Lex W Doyle, Paediatrician

    We thank Drs Cowan, de Vries and Groenendaal for their interest in our study.(1) Their main concerns related to our findings that low-grade intraventricular haemorrhages (IVH) were associated with higher rates of cerebral palsy than experienced in their own centres and other published studies, and that other lesions apart from low-grade IVH may explain the higher rates of motor impairment and cerebral palsy noted in our cohorts.

    Our cerebral palsy rates were determined at age 8 years, by experienced developmental paediatricians blinded to group and clinical history. Thus we are confident of the robustness of clinical ascertainment. We accept that our reported rates of cerebral palsy in low-grade IVH may be higher than those in some other studies, highlighting that our findings are likely specific to our population rather than others. However, our finding of increased cerebral palsy in low-grade IVH is not isolated, as we identified several studies describing 1.5-2 times the baseline rates in preterm cohorts born <33 weeks’ with low-grade IVH compared with no IVH.(2-4) We acknowledge that our data supports an association between low-grade IVH and cerebral palsy, and at no point did we imply a causal relationship.

    We agree that cystic periventricular leukomalacia (cPVL) is a well-established cause of cerebral palsy. Co-existing cPVL in our low-grade IVH groups did not explain the associations with cerebral palsy. The independent relationships between low-gra...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    School-age outcomes following intraventricular haemorrhage in infants born extremely preterm – Is it right to blame the IVH?
    • Frances M Cowan, Prof Dept. of Paediatrics Hammersmith Hospital Imperial College London W12 0HS, UK

    Hollebrandse et al are to be congratulated on achieving such a high follow-up rate at 8 years in a large cohort of preterm infants with intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH). Long-term outcomes related to specific cUS findings are increasingly important as many significant if more subtle neurodevelopmental problems are not detected at earlier follow-up.

    It is reassuring that children with the milder grades of IVH had intellectual outcomes similar to the no-IVH group but of concern is the report of significant motor deficits and cerebral palsy (CP) following grades 1 and 2 IVH. However the outcomes given may not solely be related to IVH but to other pathologies notably cystic periventricular leukomalacia (cPVL) a well-known predictor of motor deficits and CP.[1,2] cPVL was found in 6% and 4% of the children with grades 1 and 2 IVH and 13% and 25% of those with grades 3 and 4 IVH. The authors neither adjust for this pathology, saying that “cPVL may lie along the causal pathway between IVH and adverse outcomes”, nor do they give evidence to support this statement. Indeed the contribution of cPVL to outcomes is not discussed or mentioned in the abstract. We are not aware of evidence that low grade IVH is in a causal pathway to cPVL, and suggested associations between cPVL and higher grades of IVH were based on studies using infrequent ultrasound protocols and without MRI scanning at term equivalent age. [3,4] We are aware of preterm infants who develop late-onset c-PVL no...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.