Despite the recent dramatic improvements in survival, extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW, weighing less than 2.2 lbs.) and very low-birth-weight (VLBW, weighing less than 3.3 lbs.) children and adolescents remain disadvantaged on many measures of cognition, academic achievement, behavior, and social adaptation, according to background information in the article. Survivors from the early postneonatal intensive care era have only now reached young adulthood. Although some aspects of longer-term outcomes on VLBW young adults have been reported in a few studies, details of certain functional outcomes of former ELBW infants at young adulthood are unknown.
Saroj Saigal, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., of McMaster University, Ontario, Canada and colleagues conducted a study to determine the outcomes at young adulthood of former ELBW infants followed from birth in comparison to a group of normal birth-weight (NBW) children, recruited at age 8 years. Measures of successful transition to adulthood included educational attainment, student and/or worker role, independent living, getting married, and parenthood. The study included 166 ELBW participants who weighed 1.1 to 2.2 lbs. at birth (1977-1982) and 145 sociodemographically comparable NBW participants assessed at young adulthood (22-25 years). Participants were administered questionnaires between January 1, 2002, and April 30, 2004.
The proportion of participants who graduated from high school was similar (82 percent vs. 87 percent). Overall, no statistically significant differences were observed in the education achieved to date. A substantial proportion of both groups were still pursuing postsecondary education (32 percent vs. 33 percent). No significant differences were
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