We examined how specific cognitive behavioral impairments impacted quality of life (QoL) within a large multicenter cohort of 7-10 year olds surviving extremely preterm (EPT) without major neurodevelopmental disability.
Between 7 and 10 years of age, two generic, self-proxy, and parental evaluations were obtained. QoL measurement questionnaires (Kidscreen-10/VSPA (Vécu et Santé Perçue de l’Enfant et de l’Adolescent)) were used and compared to a reference population. The general and specific cognitive functions, such as executive functions, behavior and anxiety, and clinical neurologic examination, were also assessed.
We analyzed 211 school-aged EPT children. The mean gestational age was 26.2 (±0.8) weeks, birth weight was 879 g (±181) and the mean age was 8.4 years (±0.87). Children with a Full-Scale Index Quotient ≥89, who were considered as normal, had a lower QoL. Specific cognitive impairments: comprehensive language delay, visuo-spatial integration defect, and dysexecutive disorders) were the QoL correlates in the domains of school performance and body image.
School and health care professionals need to increase their focus on EPT children’s lower so as to recognize the preterm behavioral/cognitive phenotype and their potential need for supportive measures. Research on preventive interventions is warranted to investigate if these long-term effects of an EPT birth can be attenuated in neonatal period and after.