Functional brain maturation assessed during early life correlates with anatomical brain maturation at term-equivalent age in preterm infants

Giancarlo Natalucci, Russia Ha-Vinh Leuchter, Hans Ulrich Bucher, Beatrice Latal, Brigitte Koller, Petra S Hüppi, Cornelia Hagmann
Pediatric Research 2013, 74 (1): 68-74

BACKGROUND: Amplitude-integrated electroencephalogram (aEEG) is a reliable monitoring tool for electrocortical activity with good predictive value in preterm infants. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a good neuroimaging tool to detect brain lesions and to evaluate brain maturation. We hypothesized that early aEEG measures, recorded over the first 3 d of life in very preterm infants, correlate with brain maturation and injury score assessed by conventional MRI at term-equivalent age.

METHODS: Thirty-nine infants born at a mean (range) gestational age (GA) of 29.5 (27.0-31.9) wk and birth weight 1,230 (680-2,020) g had continuous aEEG during the first postnatal 72-84 h. aEEG maturity scores and average maximum and minimum amplitudes were evaluated. Conventional brain MRI was performed at 41.2 (37.1-44.1) wk postmenstrual age (PMA) on a 3T GE system and scored qualitatively for injury and maturation.

RESULTS: The average aEEG total maturity score and its cycling subscore were positively and significantly associated with the total MRI maturation score after adjustment for GA, morphine sedation, and PMA at MRI examination. No association was found between the aEEG measures and the MRI injury scores.

CONCLUSION: Early aEEG maturity seems to relate to structural MRI brain maturation at term-equivalent age in preterm infants.

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