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Looking back in time: Outcome of a national cohort of very preterm infants born in The Netherlands in 1983

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Author: Walther, F.J. · Ouden, A.L. den · Verloove-Vanhorick, S.P.
Source:Early Human Development, 3, 59, 175-191
Identifier: 280412
doi: doi:10.1016/S0378-3782(00)00094-3
Keywords: Health · Development · Disorders · Follow-up · Very preterm infants · Cohort analysis · Gestational age · Newborn · Newborn morbidity · Newborn mortality · Newborn period · Perinatal care · Prematurity · Prenatal growth · Very low birth weight · Birth Weight · Cohort Studies · Developmental Disabilities · Follow-Up Studies · Gestational Age · Humans · Infant, Newborn · Infant, Premature · Learning Disorders · Mental Disorders · Netherlands · Neurologic Examination · Questionnaires


In 1983, Dutch pediatricians collaborated on a national level and collected perinatal data on 1338 liveborn infants with a gestational age <32 weeks and/or a birthweight <1500 g (project on preterm and small for gestational age infants, POPS). Their outcome was assessed at 2 years of age by their pediatricians, at 5 years by a team of investigators, and at 9-14 years by questionnaires completed by parents, teachers, and children themselves. The overall picture that emerges from this 14-year follow-up is that a low percentage of these very preterm infants (10%) has a severe disability or handicap at school age. Although 90% of the children are without severe disabilities at school age, many of them meet serious difficulties in everyday life and the burden of mild developmental abnormalities, behavioral and learning disorders increases with age. In adolescents, it is likely that as many as 40% of the survivors will not be able to become fully independent adults. Abnormalities found during early, standardized clinical neurological examination are highly predictive for these later problems. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.