Which better predicts later outcome in fullterm infants: Quality of general movements or neurological examination?

Giovanni Cioni, Heinz F R Prechtl, Fabrizio Ferrari, Paola B. Paolicelli, Christa Einspieler, M. Federica Roversi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The qualitative assessment of general movements (GMs) has been shown to be a better predictor of neurological outcome than the traditional neurological examination in brain-damaged preterm infants. The aim of this study was to compare the results of the two techniques in term infants. Off-line assessment of GMs from videorecordings and neurological examinations were carried out, from birth till about 6 months of postterm age, in a group of 58 term infants, the majority of which were affected by mild to severe hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. The agreement between the two techniques and their predictive power, with respect to the neurological outcome at 2 years, were evaluated for four age groups. The range of agreement between neurological and GM findings was between 78 and 83%. At all ages the results of GM observation correlated highly with the neurological outcome; their sensitivity and specificity with respect to outcome were consistently slightly superior to those of neurological examination. If infants normalize after an initial period of transient abnormalities, GMs normalize earlier than the neurological results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-85
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 24 1997


  • Cranial ultrasound
  • Follow-up
  • Fullterm infant
  • General movements
  • Neurological examination
  • Videorecording

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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