Objectives To assess neuropsychological outcome in 17- and 18-year–old neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation survivors.
Design A prospective longitudinal follow-up study.
Setting Follow-up program at the Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Patients Thirty adolescents 17 or 18 years old, treated between 1991 and 1997, underwent neuropsychological assessment.
Interventions None.
Measurements and Main Results Attention, memory, executive functioning, visual-spatial functions, social-emotional functioning, and behavior were assessed with validated instruments, and data were compared with reference data. Included predictors for analysis of adverse outcome were diagnosis, age at start extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, convulsions, and use of anti-epileptics. Adolescents’ performance (expressed as mean [sd] z-score) was significantly lower than the norm on short-term and long-term verbal memory (z-score = -1.40 [1.58], p = 0.016; z-score = -1.54 [1.67], p = 0.010, respectively), visual-spatial memory (z-score = -1.65 [1.37], p = 0.008; z-score = -1.70 [1.23], p = 0.008, respectively), and working memory (32% vs 9% in the norm population). Parents reported more problems for their children regarding organization of materials (z-score = −0.60 [0.90]; p = 0.03) and behavior evaluation (z-score = −0.53 [0.88]; p = 0.05) on a questionnaire. Patients reported more withdrawn/depressed behavior (z-score = −0.47 [0.54]; p = 0.02), somatic complaints (z-score = −0.43 [0.48]; p = 0.03), and social problems (z-score = −0.41 [0.46]; p = 0.04). Patients reported more positive feelings of self-esteem and an average health status.
Conclusions Adolescents treated with neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation are at risk of verbal, visual-spatial, and working-memory problems. Future research should focus on 1) the longitudinal outcome of specific neuropsychological skills in adolescence and adulthood; 2) identifying risk factors of neuropsychological dysfunction; 3) evaluating to what extent “severity of illness” is responsible for acquired brain injury; and 4) effects of timely cognitive rehabilitation.

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Financial support was provided by Swart-van Essen Fund
Critical Care Medicine

Madderom, M., Aarsen, F., Schiller, R., Gischler, S., van Heijst, A., Tibboel, D., & IJsselstijn, H. (2018). Verbal and visual-spatial memory problems at adolescent age after neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Critical Care Medicine, 2017. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/105096