Neurodevelopmental outcome of high risk newborns discharged from special care baby units in a rural district in India

Nandita Chattopadhyay(1*)Kaninika Mitra(2)


Background. High risk newborns are most vulnerable to develop neuro-developmental delay (NDD). Early detection of delay in this group and identification of associated perinatal factors and their prevention can prevent disability in later life.

Design and methods.
 Observational cohort study. Field based tracking and neuro-developmental screening of high risk newborns discharged between January 2010 to June 2012 from a district Hospital in India was conducted by a team of developmental specialists, using standardized tools like Denver Developmental Screening Tool II, Trivandrum Developmental Screening Chart and Amiel-Tison method of tone assessment. Associated perinatal factors were identified. Early intervention was initiated on those detected with NDD.

. Developmental delay was detected in 31.6% of study population. Prevalence of NDD was significantly higher in low birth weight (LBW, >2 kg), preterm (<36 weeks) and twins. Neonatal sepsis/meningitis and convulsions also showed significant association with NDD. Of the 134 with developmental delay, 61 were preterm, 80 LBW, with h/o sepsis in 52, convulsion in 14, birth asphyxia in 39 and jaundice in 14 neonates.

. Incidence of NDD among high risk newborns is significantly high with LBW, prematurity and neonatal illnesses are major contributors. Most NDDs go undetected in the early years of life. Improved perinatal care, early detection and early intervention at the grass root level will bring down incidence of developmental challenges in this vulnerable group.