Early Ultrasonic Monitoring of Brain Growth and Later Neurodevelopmental Outcome in Very Preterm Infants

V.A.A. Beunders, J.A. Roelants, J. Suurland, J. Dudink, P. Govaert, R.M.C. Swarte, M.M.A. Kouwenberg-Raets, I.K.M. Reiss, K.F.M. Joosten, M.J. Vermeulen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In infants born very preterm, monitoring of early brain growth could contribute to prediction of later neurodevelopment. Therefore, our aim was to investigate associations between 2 early cranial ultrasound markers (corpus callosum-fastigium and corpus callosum length) and neurodevelopmental outcome and the added value of both markers in the prediction of neurodevelopmental outcome based on neonatal risk factors and head circumference in very preterm infants.MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective observational study included 225 infants born at < 30 weeks' gestational age, of whom 153 were without any brain injury on cranial ultrasound. Corpus callosum-fastigium and corpus callosum length and head circumference were measured at birth, 29weeks' gestational age, transfer from the neonatal intensive care unit to a level II hospital, and 2months' corrected age. We analyzed associations of brain markers and their growth with cognitive, motor, language, and behavioral outcome at 2 years' corrected age.RESULTS: In infants without brain injury, greater corpus callosum-fastigium length at 2 months was associated with better cognitive outcome. Corpus callosum length at 2 months was positively associated with cognitive, motor, and language outcome. Faster growth of the corpus callosum length between birth and 2 months was associated with better cognitive and motor function. Prediction of neurodevelopmental outcome based on neonatal risk factors with or without head circumference was significantly improved by adding corpus callosum length.CONCLUSIONS: Both corpus callosum-fastigium and corpus callosum length on cranial ultrasound are associated with neurodevelopmental outcome of very preterm infants without brain injury at 2 years, but only corpus callosum length shows the added clinical utility in predicting neurodevelopmental outcome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-644
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number4
Early online date24 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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