Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up at Five Years Corrected Age of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants after Postnatal Replacement of 17β-Estradiol and Progesterone

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Extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants are prone to impaired neurodevelopment.


The aim was to determine long-term neurodevelopmental outcome in ELBW infants after postnatal 17β-estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P) replacement.


At 5-yr corrected age, ELBW infants were assessed for standardized cognitive and neurological outcome after postnatal randomized E2 and P replacement or placebo administration.


The follow-up examination was performed in a neuropediatric ambulatory care center.


Sixty-one of 71 surviving infants (86%) were available for follow-up.

Main Outcome Measures:

Cognitive and neurological outcome was evaluated using the Kaufmann Assessment Battery for Children, the Gross Motor Function Classification Scale, and clinical neurological examination.


No significant differences were found between the replacement and placebo groups for the Gross Motor Function Classification Scale, presence of paresis, cerebral palsy, spasticity, and ametropia. However, a significant time-response relationship was found with E2 and P replacement. Every day of treatment reduced the risk for cerebral palsy (P = 0.03), spasticity (P = 0.01), and ametropia (P = 0.01).


Postnatal E2 and P replacement may have potential in improving neurodevelopmental outcome in ELBW infants. Larger trials are needed to test this new hypothesis.

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