Child's Nervous System

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 1139–1149 | Cite as

Preterm birth and neurodevelopmental outcome: a review

  • Carla Arpino
  • Eliana Compagnone
  • Maria L. Montanaro
  • Denise Cacciatore
  • Angela De Luca
  • Angelica Cerulli
  • Stefano Di Girolamo
  • Paolo Curatolo
Review Paper



The incidence of preterm delivery and the survival rate of preterm newborns are rising, due to the increased use of assisted reproductive technology associated with multiple gestations and improved technology in obstetrics and neonatology, which allow saving preterm infants at earlier gestational ages. As a consequence, the risk of developmental disabilities in preterm children is high, and clinical pictures need to be fully defined.


Narrative review including articles regarding neurodevelopmental disorders published in the international medical literature and reported in Pub Med between the years 2000 and January 2010.


Although survival rates of extremely low birth weight infants (ELBW) significantly increased during the last decade, the substantial stability of disability trends in this population was disappointing. Late-preterm infants, who account for about 75% of all preterm births and had not been considered at risk for adverse long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes in the past, are now reconsidered as more likely to develop such events, though their risk remains lower than in ELBW.


The findings of the studies discussed in our article support the importance of early diagnosis in order to make decision about appropriate treatment of preterm infants.


Cerebral palsy Developmental coordination disorder Visual impairment 


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© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla Arpino
    • 1
  • Eliana Compagnone
    • 1
  • Maria L. Montanaro
    • 2
  • Denise Cacciatore
    • 1
  • Angela De Luca
    • 1
  • Angelica Cerulli
    • 3
  • Stefano Di Girolamo
    • 2
  • Paolo Curatolo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurosciences, Pediatric Neurology Unit“Tor Vergata” University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Ear, Nose, Throat & Head Neck Surgery“Tor Vergata” University of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of PharmacobiologyUniversity of CalabriaCosenzaItaly

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