A two-year follow-up study of very preterm infants in Italy: aims and study design

Marina Cuttini, Barbara Caravale, Virgilio Carnielli, Valeria Chiandotto, Benedetta Contoli, Carlo Corchia, Monica Da Frè, Domenico Di Lallo, Federica Ferrazzoli, Mariacristina Fertz, Immacolata Guzzo, Silvana Miniaci, Nadia Mirante, Simone Piga, Franca Rusconi, Eva Buiatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes the objectives and study design of a population-based follow-up study of very preterm children in Italy (the ACTION 2 project), with a discussion of the methodological choices made and the difficulties encountered. Five Italian regions participated. All children born in these regions at 22-31 weeks of gestational age and discharged alive from neonatal intensive care units were eligible (n = 1407). The overall follow-up rate was 83%. Children born to foreign mothers, singletons and those with a slightly higher birth weight were less likely to return for follow-up. The assessment included a paediatric medical visit at 2 years corrected age to identify major neuromotor and sensory disability, a cognitive and behavioural screening carried out by means of a parental questionnaire, and a post-visit telephone interview with the mother. A control group of term-born 2-year-old children was recruited for the parental questionnaire and telephone interview only. The strengths of this study are the population-based approach, the large sample size and the focus on a functional assessment of development. The main limitation is the lack of formal cognitive testing. Follow-up of the cohort at school age will be necessary to obtain a full picture of the growth and development of these children.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • cognitive development
  • follow-up
  • neurosensorial disability
  • outcome
  • preterm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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