Screening Cranial Imaging at Multiple Time Points Improves Cystic Periventricular Leukomalacia Detection

Subrata Sarkar, Seetha Shankaran, Abbot R Laptook, Beena G Sood, Barbara Do, Barbara J Stoll, Krisa P Van Meurs, Edward F Bell, Abhik Das, John Barks
American Journal of Perinatology 2015, 32 (10): 973-9

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to determine whether the cystic periventricular leukomalacia (cPVL) detection rate differs between imaging studies performed at different time points.

DESIGN: We retrospectively reviewed the prospectively collected data of 31,708 infants from the NICHD Neonatal Research Network. Inclusion criteria were infants < 1,000 g birth weight or < 29 weeks' gestational age who had cranial imaging performed using both early criterion (cranial ultrasound [CUS] < 28 days chronological age) and late criterion (CUS, magnetic resonance imaging, or computed tomography closest to 36 weeks postmenstrual age [PMA]). We compared the frequency of cPVL diagnosed by early and late criteria.

RESULTS: About 664 (5.2%) of the 12,739 infants who met inclusion criteria had cPVL using either early or late criteria; 569 using the late criterion, 250 using the early criterion, and 155 patients at both times. About 95 (14.3%) of 664 cPVL cases seen on early imaging were no longer visible on repeat screening closest to 36 weeks PMA. Such disappearance of cPVL was more common in infants < 26 weeks' gestation versus infants of 26 to 28 weeks' gestation (18.5 vs. 11.5%; p = 0.013).

CONCLUSIONS: Cranial imaging at both < 28 days chronological age and closest to 36 weeks PMA improves cPVL detection, especially for more premature infants.

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