Cranial ultrasound screening protocols for very preterm infants

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Cranial ultrasound examinations are routinely performed in very preterm neonates. There is no widespread agreement on the optimal timing of these examinations. This review examines screening protocols and recommendations available for the timing of cranial ultrasound examinations in preterm neonates born before 32 wk of gestation. A systematic search was performed to find published screening protocols, and 18 articles were included in the final review. The protocols varied in their recommendations on timing, although at least one examination in the first week of life was universally recommended. The recommended timing for a “late” or final ultrasound examination was variable, and included at 6 wks of postnatal age, term-equivalent age or hospital discharge. There was no agreement as to whether weekly or fortnightly sequential ultrasound imaging should be performed after the first week of life. Further studies are required to establish an optimal protocol for these very preterm neonates to improve detection and monitoring of brain injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1645-1656
Number of pages12
JournalUltrasound in Medicine & Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2021


  • Intraventricular haemorrhage
  • Neonate
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Timing

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