Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Medically Fragile Infant Populations
As medical advances improve survival outcomes for premature and congenital cardiac infant populations. it is important to gain a better understanding of the neurodevelopmental outcomes that affect functioning in childhood and beyond. Brain development is influenced by factors such as decreased oxygenation, interruption to brain maturation, and white matter injury that contribute to deficits in neurodevelopmental outcomes. Gaining a better understanding of outcomes and developmental trends provides greater opportunities for intervention at a young age, which can mitigate the effects of deficits in these populations. This study therefore aimed to better understand neurodevelopmental outcomes in premature and cardiac infant populations and to consider ways in which follow-up programs can best serve these populations. Findings indicate that cognitive, motor, and language relative deficits are present in these populations. As indicated in previous studies, low-normal scores were achieved by many of the participants. and it is important to educate parents to be aware of the potential for delayed functioning even in absence of major and obvious deficits. The findings of this study demonstrated that motor functioning was significantly lower in the cardiac sample as compared with the preterm sample, while cognitive functioning was lowest in the extremely preterm infant sample. A significant negative correlation was identified between head circumference and cognitive functioning, and a marginally significant relationship between lower birth weight and lower language scores was also identified. Findings did not demonstrate a relationship between severity of cardiac diagnosis and severity of outcomes; these results should be considered in context of relatively small sample sizes for cardiac risk categories. Results also echoed studies that have identified similar trajectories between these two populations in terms of language functioning as well as for cognitive functioning among the very preterm. moderate-late term/dual diagnosis group, and the cardiac infant group, and the areas of similar outcomes for these the preterm and cardiac infant groups supports the assertion that established resources that are presently directed toward the premature infant population can benefit the cardiac infant population as providers seek to address subtle deficits in functioning to improve overall outcomes as these children progress through school and to adulthood.
Kiderman, Miryam, "Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Medically Fragile Infant Populations" (2018). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI10991930.
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