J Perinatol. 2022 Jun 18. doi: 10.1038/s41372-022-01432-3. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: To describe differences in neurobehavior among very preterm infants with low medical risk at term equivalent age and full-term infants.
STUDY DESIGN: One-hundred eighty-six (136 infants born ≤32 weeks gestation with low medical risk at term equivalent age and 50 full-term infants within 4 days of birth) had standardized neurobehavioral assessments. Low medical risk was defined by ventilation <10 days and absence of significant brain injury, necrotizing enterocolitis, patent ductus arteriosus, and retinopathy of prematurity.
RESULTS: Very preterm infants with low medical risk at term equivalent age demonstrated more sub-optimal reflexes (p < 0.001; ß = 1.53) and more stress (p < 0.001; ß = 0.08) on the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale compared to their full-term counterparts. Very preterm infants with low medical risk also performed worse on the Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination (p = 0.005; ß = -3.4).
CONCLUSION: Very preterm infants at term equivalent age continue to demonstrate less optimal neurobehavior compared to full-term infants.
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