2012 Volume 24 Issue 9 Pages 933-940
[Purpose] Although there has been an improvement in survival rates for extremely low weight infants over the last two decades, premature neonates have a greater risk of developing motor disorders than those born full-term. Our purpose here is to review the efficacy of early physiotherapy intervention in the normalization or improvement of motor development in preterm infants. [Subjects] We reviewed sixteen articles meeting the inclusion criteria which covered 1075 patients. [Methods] Randomized clinical trials, controlled or quasi-randomized clinical trials and cohort studies or control cases of preterm developmental early intervention programs were used if intervention began in the first 18 months of life. A systematic review of studies grouped by methodological characteristics of physical therapy intervention: type and characteristics and an assessment of intervention effects was undertaken. [Results] Studies included in this review were of a very heterogeneous nature which precludes meta-analysis and limits generalization of the conclusions arrived at in this review. The review results indicate that physical therapy interventions carried out on preterm infants must be adapted to an infant’s age and individual characteristics.