Neonatology pp 2031-2054 | Cite as

Normal and Abnormal Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Outcomes of Very Low-Birth Weight (VLBW) Infants

  • Betty R. VohrEmail author
Reference work entry


Advances in perinatal and neonatal management of very low-birth weight (VLBW) infants (<1500 g) have resulted in increased survival of fragile “high-risk” infants, including those with extremely low birth weight (<1000 g). These high-risk preterm survivors have increased post-discharge morbidities including neurologic/neurosensory, cognitive, visual motor/fine motor, speech and language, motor function/coordination, functional skills for daily living, and behavior sequelae. Most tertiary care programs in the United States and all neonatal training programs have a structured follow-up program whose primary areas of responsibility are surveillance and research. Multiple assessment tools are used by these follow-up programs to identify the neurodevelopmental sequelae of preterm birth. Assessments in the first 3 years of life reliably identify major neurosensory morbidities and major neurodevelopmental sequelae. The majority of major abnormalities can be identified by 18–24 months of age. These early childhood assessments are often the primary outcome for clinical trials and also facilitate referral to appropriate intervention services. Although there are data demonstrating neurodevelopmental recovery with increasing age, there is also evidence of sustained adverse outcomes of executive functions, atypical behavior, and psychological problems into school age and adolescence. Assessments at school age rather than early childhood are felt to provide a more reliable prediction of long-term outcomes.



Auditory brainstem response


Autism spectrum disorder

Bayley II

Bayley Scales of Infant Development II


Battelle Developmental Inventory

Beery VMI

Beery Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration 4th Ed


Bronchopulmonary dysplasia


Bayley Scales of Infant Development III


Child Behavior Checklist


Cerebral palsy


Developmental coordination disorder


Extremely low birth weight


Early Language Milestone Scale2


Early Screening Profiles


Gross Motor Function Classification System


Hearing loss


Intraventricular hemorrhage


Movement Assessment Battery for Children


Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers


Mental Developmental Index


Neurodevelopmental impairment


National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


Neonatal intensive care unit


Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Test II


Psychomotor Developmental Index


Peabody Developmental Motor Scales


Preschool Language Score


Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test


Periventricular leukomalacia


Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, 4th edition


Sequenced Inventory of Communication Development Revised


Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale


Very low birth weight


Functional Independence Measure for Children


Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children


Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence



We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Bonnie E. Stephens MD to the 2009 edition of Normal and Abnormal Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Outcomes of Very Low Birth Weight Infants.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsThe Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Women and Infants HospitalProvidenceUSA

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