Objectives To describe neurodevelopmental outcomes at 2 years corrected age for children born alive at 22-26, 27-31, and 32-34 weeks’ gestation in 2011, and to evaluate changes since 1997.
Design Population based cohort studies, EPIPAGE and EPIPAGE-2.
Participants 5567 neonates born alive in 2011 at 22-34 completed weeks’ gestation, with 4199 survivors at 2 years corrected age included in follow-up. Comparison of outcomes reported for 3334 (1997) and 2418 (2011) neonates born alive in the nine regions participating in both studies.
Main outcome measures Survival; cerebral palsy (2000 European consensus definition); scores below threshold on the neurodevelopmental Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ; at least one of five domains below threshold) if completed between 22 and 26 months corrected age, in children without cerebral palsy, blindness, or deafness; and survival without severe or moderate neuromotor or sensory disabilities (cerebral palsy with Gross Motor Function Classification System levels 2-5, unilateral or bilateral blindness or deafness). Results are given as percentage of outcome measures with 95% confidence intervals.
Results Among 5170 liveborn neonates with parental consent, survival at 2 years corrected age was 51.7% (95% confidence interval 48.6% to 54.7%) at 22-26 weeks’ gestation, 93.1% (92.1% to 94.0%) at 27-31 weeks’ gestation, and 98.6% (97.8% to 99.2%) at 32-34 weeks’ gestation. Only one infant born at 22-23 weeks survived. Data on cerebral palsy were available for 3599 infants (81.0% of the eligible population). The overall rate of cerebral palsy at 24-26, 27-31, and 32-34 weeks’ gestation was 6.9% (4.7% to 9.6%), 4.3% (3.5% to 5.2%), and 1.0% (0.5% to 1.9%), respectively. Responses to the ASQ were analysed for 2506 children (56.4% of the eligible population). The proportion of children with an ASQ result below threshold at 24-26, 27-31, and 32-34 weeks’ gestation were 50.2% (44.5% to 55.8%), 40.7% (38.3% to 43.2%), and 36.2% (32.4% to 40.1%), respectively. Survival without severe or moderate neuromotor or sensory disabilities among live births increased between 1997 and 2011, from 45.5% (39.2% to 51.8%) to 62.3% (57.1% to 67.5%) at 25-26 weeks’ gestation, but no change was observed at 22-24 weeks’ gestation. At 32-34 weeks’ gestation, there was a non-statistically significant increase in survival without severe or moderate neuromotor or sensory disabilities (P=0.61), but the proportion of survivors with cerebral palsy declined (P=0.01).
Conclusions In this large cohort of preterm infants, rates of survival and survival without severe or moderate neuromotor or sensory disabilities have increased during the past two decades, but these children remain at high risk of developmental delay.