The Impact of Surgery on the Developmental Status of Late Preterm Infants – A Cohort Study

Amit Trivedi, Karen Walker, Alison Loughran-Fowlds, Robert Halliday, Andrew Holland, Nadia Badawi


Aims: Despite increasing evidence in the literature regarding the impact of late prematurity on subsequent developmental impairment, the developmental outcome of late preterm infants who undergo major surgery remains unclear. The aim of this study therefore was to determine the developmental outcome for a cohort of late preterm surgical population.

Methods: Late preterm infants with a gestational age from 34-36 weeks inclusive who were enrolled in the state-wide prospective Development After Infant Surgery (DAISy) study and who had undergone non-cardiac major surgery within the first ninety days of life were eligible for inclusion. Infants were assessed at one and three years of ages.

Results: Forty-six infants were enrolled in the study, of which 38 infants had a complete developmental assessment at one year of age. Of these infants, late preterm infants scored significantly lower than the standardized norms of the assessment on the expressive language and gross motor subscales. At three years of age 26 infants were reassessed: late preterm infants who underwent major surgery only scored significantly lower than the standardized norms on the cognitive subscale (p<0.001).

Conclusions: These data provide the evidence that late preterm infants who undergo major non-cardiac surgery are at risk of developmental impairment and consideration should be given to enrolling this cohort in multi-disciplinary developmental follow-up clinics.


Late preterm infants, Neurodevelopmental outcome, Neonatal surgery

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