Regional cortical development in very low birth weight infants with normal neurodevelopmental outcome assessed by 3D-ultrasound

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Three-dimensional ultrasound (3D-US) offers new perspectives in cerebral imaging.


This prospective study aimed to determine whether 3D-US is appropriate to assess cortical development of the premature brain, and compare it to previously established reference values assessed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Preterm infants with a gestational age (GA) of <32 weeks were examined by serial 3D-US scans.


Data of 30 patients with normal neurological development at the age of 5 years were included in the analysis. Cortical development was graded according to a five-point scoring system, and data were stratified into 6 age groups. Cortical developmental scores were established for various brain regions. In the frontal and frontoparietal regions, 3D-US reference values differed from published MRI reference values, but were consistent with the published data in all other regions.


3D-US reference values facilitate routine diagnostics and enable the evaluation of cortical development in preterm infants.

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