OBJECTIVE:

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.

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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).

CONCLUSIONS:

Adolescents born EPT have considerable long-term health and educational needs. Few had severe impairments that curtailed major activities of daily life.

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