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Cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of very low birth weight infants at one year of corrected age


Cerebral MRI was performed at 1.5 T in 27 infants with birth weight below 1500 grams at 1 year of corrected age. The images were compared to those reported on normal development at the same age. On T1 weighted images, 20 (74.1%) of the 27 infants showed myelin deposition different from what has been reported to be normal. Areas most affected were the central occipital white matter and the centrum semiovale. Both correspond to “watershed areas” known to be at risk for periventricular leukomalacia in preterm infants. T2-weighted images showed delayed myelination in the same areas as described for T1. In addition, two infants showed delayed myelination in the central occipital white matter and one in the centrum semiovale. Patchy focal abnormalities involving the white matter were seen in seven (25.9%) infants. Mild cerebral atrophy, mainly of the cortex was found in 10 (37.0%) infants. Irregular shape of the lateral ventricles, especially of the occipital horns was present in 12 infants (44.4%). 11 of these infants also had deviating changes in myelination. Only 2 infants (7.4%) had a normal MRI examination. Follow-up MRI examinations are needed to determine whether the high percentage of changes in myelination represent delayed development or brain damage in preterm infants.

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Skranes, J.S., Nilsen, G., Smevik, O. et al. Cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of very low birth weight infants at one year of corrected age. Pediatr Radiol 22, 406–409 (1992).

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