2006 Volume 210 Issue 4 Pages 333-339
The incidence of late-onset circulatory dysfunction (LCD) of premature infants, which is characterized by sudden hypotension and oliguria, has recently increased in Japan. This condition suddenly occurs after several days of age without obvious causes in preterm infants with stable respiration and circulation. Intravenous steroids frequently improve the hypotension. The main problem with LCD is the subsequent and frequent onset of periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), and neurological development appears to be worse in PVL patients with LCD than those without LCD. The aim of this study was to determine whether the severity of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings and neurological outcomes differ between infants who developed PVL after LCD and those who developed PVL without LCD. We retrospectively studied preterm infants who were delivered at less than 33 weeks of gestation between the years 2000 and 2003. During the study period, 10 and 26 infants developed PVL with and without LCD, respectively. The incidence of severe or moderate MRI findings was significantly higher in PVL patients with LCD (100%) than those without LCD (50%; p < 0.05). The incidence of severe cerebral palsy was 88% in PVL infants with LCD and 43% in PVL infants without LCD (p < 0.05). Moreover, the incidence of visual disorders was significantly higher in PVL infants with LCD (63%) than those without LCD (9%; p < 0.01). In conclusion, neurological outcomes are worse in preterm infants who develop PVL with LCD than those without LCD, which is well correlated to the severity judged by MRI findings.