Abnormal truncal muscle tone as a useful early marker for developmental delay in low birth weight infants

M. K. Georgieff, J. C. Bernbaum, M. Hoffman-Williamson, A. Daft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Thirty-four outborn premature infants of appropriate gestational ages with birth weights less than 1,750 g were seen in follow-up at 3, 6, 12, and 18 months, corrected age to assess the incidence of abnormalities of muscle tone and the relationship of the site of early abnormalities to 18-month developmental status. The incidence of abnormal tone was most common at 3 months and declined with increasing age. The percentages of infants with abnormal tone at 3, 6, 12, and 18 months, respectively, were: increased lower extremity tone - 62%, 71%, 38%, 9%; decreased lower extremity tone - 3%, 3%, 6%, 9%; increased truncal tone - 41%, 15%, 6%, 0%; decreased truncal tone - 21%, 18%, 15%, 6%. Infants with truncal hypertonicity at 3 months had significantly lower Bayley motor and mental scores at 18 months when compared with infants with normal truncal tone (P < .05). However, infants with lower extremity hypertonicity at 3 months were no different developmentally at 18 months from infants with normal tone. Infants with truncal or lower extremity hypotonicity fared the worst developmentally (P < .05). We conclude that there is a high incidence of abnormal muscle tone in premature infants up to 18 months of age and that early truncal tone abnormalities are associated with a worse developmental outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-663
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986


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