Among babies born extremely preterm, risks of moderate or worse neurodevelopmental impairment decreased with each week of gestational age, researchers found.
A meta-analysis showed babies born at 22 to 25 weeks had “a substantial likelihood of developing moderate to severe impairment” at ages 4 to 8 years, according to Gregory Moore, MD, of The Ottawa Hospital General Campus in Canada, and colleagues.
But these risks in moderate to severe impairment declined significantly by 6.5% for each additional week of gestation (95% CI 2%-11%), they wrote online in JAMA Pediatrics.
The authors cautioned that wide confidence intervals at lower gestations and high heterogeneity at higher gestations limit the results. Nonetheless, “knowledge of these data … should facilitate discussion during the shared decision-making process about care plans for these infants, particularly in centers without their own data,” they stated.
Although medical interventions have driven down rates of infant mortality among those born preterm, there is a high prevalence of intellectual disability among those preterm infants.