Objective: To assess if the cognitive advantage of DRIFT seen at 2 years persisted until school age.
Participants: The RCT conducted in four centres recruited 77 preterm infants with IVH and progressive ventricular enlargement over specified measurements. Follow-up was at 10 years of age.
Intervention: Intraventricular injection of a fibrinolytic followed by continuous lavage, until the drainage was clear, and standard care consisting of control of expansion by lumbar punctures and if expansion persisted via a ventricular access device.
Primary outcome: Cognitive quotient (CQ), derived from the British Ability Scales and Bayley III Scales, and survival without severe cognitive disability.
Results: Of the 77 children randomised, 12 died, 2 could not be traced, 10 did not respond and 1 declined at 10-year follow-up. 28 in the DRIFT group and 24 in the standard treatment group were assessed by examiners blinded to the intervention. The mean CQ score was 69.3 (SD=30.1) in the DRIFT group and 53.7 (SD=35.7) in the standard treatment group (unadjusted p=0.1; adjusted p=0.01, after adjustment for the prespecified variables sex, birth weight and IVH grade). Survival without severe cognitive disability was 66% in the DRIFT group and 35% in the standard treatment group (unadjusted p=0.019; adjusted p=0.003).
Conclusion: DRIFT is the first intervention for posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation to objectively demonstrate sustained cognitive improvement.