Objective: To determine the associations of different grades of intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH), particularly grades 1 and 2, with neurodevelopmental outcomes at 8 years of age in children born extremely preterm.
Design: Population-based cohort study.
Setting: State of Victoria, Australia.
Patients: Survivors born at <28 weeks’ gestational age (n=546) and matched term-born controls (n=679) from three distinct eras, namely, those born in 1991-1992, 1997 and 2005.
Exposure: Worst grade of IVH detected on serial neonatal cranial ultrasound.
Outcome measures: Intellectual ability, executive function, academic skills, cerebral palsy and motor function at 8 years.
Results: There was a trend for increased motor dysfunction with increasing severity of all grades of IVH, from 24% with no IVH, rising to 92% with grade 4 IVH. Children with grade 1 or 2 IVH were at higher risk of developing cerebral palsy than those without IVH (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.21 to 4.16). Increased rates of impairment in intellectual ability and academic skills were observed with higher grades of IVH, but not for grade 1 and 2 IVH. Parent-rated executive functioning was not related to IVH.
Conclusion: While low-grade IVH is generally considered benign, it was associated with higher rates of cerebral palsy in school-aged children born EP, but not with intellectual ability, executive function, academic skills or overall motor function. Higher grades of IVH were associated with higher rates and risks of impairment in motor function, intellectual ability and some academic skills, but not parental ratings of executive function.