We examined chronic conditions, functional limitations, and special health care needs in extremely preterm children (EPT; 23–25 weeks’ gestation) born between 1992 and 1998 at 2 Swedish tertiary care centers that offered regional and active perinatal care to all live-born EPT infants.
Of 134 surviving EPT children, 132 (98%) were assessed at 10 to 15 years of age alongside 103 term-born controls. Identification of children with functional limitations and special health care needs was based on a questionnaire administered to parents. Categorization of medical diagnoses and developmental disabilities was based on child examinations, medical record reviews, and parent questionnaires.
In logistic regression analyses adjusting for social risk factors and sex, the EPT children had significantly more chronic conditions than the term-born controls, including functional limitations (64% vs 6%; odds ratio [OR], 15; 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.1–37.2; P < .001), compensatory dependency needs (60% vs 29%; OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 2.2–6.6; P < .001), and services above those routinely required by children (64% vs 25%; OR, 5.4; 95% CI, 3.0–9.6; P < .001). Specific diagnoses and disabilities for the EPT group versus controls included cerebral palsy (9.1% vs 0%; P < .001), asthma (21.2% vs 6.8%; P = 001), IQ < –2 SD (31.1% vs 4.9%; P < .001), poor motor skills without neurosensory impairment (21.9% vs 1.9%; P < .001), and psychiatric conditions (15.2% vs 1.9%; P < .001).
Adolescents born EPT have considerable long-term health and educational needs. Few had severe impairments that curtailed major activities of daily life.