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The prediction of long-term outcomes in surviving infants born very preterm (VPT) or with very low birth weight (VLBW) is necessary to guide clinical management, provide information to parents, and help target and evaluate interventions. There is a large body of literature describing risk factor models for neurodevelopmental outcomes in VPT/VLBW children, yet few, if any, have been developed for use in routine clinical practice or adopted for use in research studies or policy evaluation. We sought to systematically review the methods and reporting of studies that have developed a multivariable risk factor model for neurodevelopment in surviving VPT/VLBW children. We searched the MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO databases from January 1, 1990, to June 1, 2014, and identified 78 studies reporting 222 risk factor models. Most studies presented risk factor analyses that were not intended to be used for prediction, confirming that there is a dearth of specifically designed prognostic modeling studies for long-term outcomes in surviving VPT/VLBW children. We highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the research methodology and reporting to date, and provide recommendations for the design and analysis of future studies seeking to analyze risk prediction or develop prognostic models for VPT/VLBW children.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Epidemiol

Publication Date





601 - 612


data reporting, development, preterm infants, prognosis, research methodology, risk factors, systematic reviews, very low birth weight, Child Development, Data Collection, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Humans, Infant, Extremely Premature, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Very Low Birth Weight, Models, Neurological, Risk Factors