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Gross Motor Outcomes of Children Born Prematurely in Northern Ontario and Followed by a Neonatal Follow-Up Programme

The developing brain of a premature infant is vulnerable to injury. As a
result, the long-term consequences of a premature birth include motor deficits,
cognitive and behavioural problems. It is crucial to identify motor dysfunction
during the preschool period because it interferes with a child's ability to
explore the world. The goals of this study were to (1) provide preliminary data
on the gross motor outcomes of children born prematurely and (2) determine the
proportion and characteristics of the children who had maintained delays over the
course of follow-up. Method: A retrospective chart review was conducted on all
infants monitored by a neonatal follow-up programme. Each child was assessed by a
single physiotherapist from birth until age 2 years. Of the 107 cases identified,
97 individuals were retained for analysis; they had a mean gestational age of
31.1 (SD 2.9) weeks and a mean birth weight of 1.66 (SD 0.53) kilograms. Results:
The majority of children assessed were found to have gross motor outcomes in the
average range. Children with scores below the average range were most often born
very preterm (VPT) or moderately preterm (MPT), with very low or low birth
weight, respectively. A total of 17 participants were referred to physiotherapy
to address the gross motor delays identified in the follow-up programme; 14 of
these 17 had previously been identified as delayed and were being monitored. Late
preterm (LPT) children (n=6) were most often referred, followed by those born
extremely preterm (EPT) and VPT (n=4). In total, 56 children were identified as
delayed at one assessment point but were found to be within normal limits by the
end of the follow-up period. Conclusion: It is important to periodically monitor
premature children.
A longitudinal, population-based study is also needed to
provide more data on the predictors and long-term motor outcomes of MPT and LPT
children.

Langue : ANGLAIS

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