Objective: To investigate the association between white matter diffuse excessive high signal intensity (DEHSI) on neonatal magnetic resonance imaging in very preterm infants and neurobehavioral outcomes at the age of 13 years. Study design: Magnetic resonance images of very preterm children (<30 weeks gestational age or <1250 g birth weight) were evaluated at term-equivalent age with DEHSI classified into 5 grades. Additionally, visibility of the posterior periventricular crossroads was assessed. General intelligence, memory, attention, executive function, motor abilities, and behavior were examined in 125 children at age 13 years and related to DEHSI grades using linear regression. Results: DEHSI was detected in 93% of infants; 21% grade 1, 22% grade 2, 32% grade 3, and 18% grade 4. Neurobehavioral outcomes were similar for all DEHSI groups. There was weak evidence that higher DEHSI grades related to higher verbal IQ and attention and that lower DEHSI grades related to better planning ability. Adjustment for gestational age, birth weight standard score, and sex further weakened these effects. Only 12 children had invisible posterior crossroads and showed slightly poorer outcomes at 13 years of age. Conclusions: There was little evidence that neonatal DEHSI serves as a sensitive biomarker for later impairment. Further investigation on the importance of invisible posterior periventricular crossroads in larger samples is needed.
- magnet resonance imaging