Summary Over the last decade, knowledge has emerged that children growing up after neonatal critical illness, irrespective of underlying diagnosis, are at risk of memory impairment and school problems. Strikingly, these problems are manifest even when intelligence is normal. In this review, we propose a common neurodevelopmental pathway following neonatal critical illness by demonstrating that the survivors of preterm birth, congenital heart disease, and severe respiratory failure, share an increased risk of long-term memory deficits and associated hippocampal alterations. Rather than being a consequence of underlying diagnosis, we suggest that this shared vulnerability is most likely related to common conditions associated with neonatal critical illness. These include hypoxia, neuroinflammation, stress, exposure to anaesthetics, or a complex interplay of these factors at different postconceptional ages. Future work should be aimed at improving early identification of patients at risk and evaluating intervention modalities, such as cognitive or exercise training.
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
Department of Pediatric Surgery

Schiller, R., IJsselstijn, H., Hoskote, A., White, T., Verhulst, F., van Heijst, A., & Tibboel, D. (2017). Memory deficits following neonatal critical illness: A common neurodevelopmental pathway. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health., 2017, 1–25. Retrieved from