General movements in the perinatal period and its relation to echogenicity changes in the brain
Background: In preterm born infants abnormal general movements (GMs) generally normalize before three months post term, but may persist when perinatal brain injury is present. Aims: To assess the continuity of GM quality from fetal to early neonatal period and its relation to brain echogenicity changes. Study design: Prospective study examining GMs and three vulnerable brain areas before and 7 days after birth. The quality of GMs was classified as normal or abnormal by Gestalt-perception. The brain was examined for moderate echogenicity changes (periventricular: brighter than choroid plexus, intraventricular: filling equal or more than 50% of the ventricle, and locally increased basal ganglia/thalami). Subjects: 94 fetuses from pregnancies complicated by preterm hypertensive disorders or labour at a gestational age between 26 and 34 weeks. Outcomes measures: Correlations of fetal GMs, echogenicity changes, and clinical parameters (e.g. gestational age, parity, hypertensive disorders or preterm labour, oligohydramnios and fetal growth restriction) with neonatal GMs. Results: Fetal GMs were abnormal in 64%, normalizing in 68% within 7 days after birth. Fetal GMs were significantly related to postnatal GMs (p = 0.045). Moderate fetal brain echogenicity changes and clinical parameters were not significantly related to neonatal GM. Conclusions: In this population of pregnancies compromised by hypertensive disorders or preterm labour fetal GMs correlated with neonatal GMs. Presence of moderate echogenicity changes in the fetal brain was not related to neonatal GMs. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.