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Children with CHD are at increased risk for neurodevelopmental impairments. There is little information on long-term motor function and its association with behaviour.
To assess motor function and behaviour in a cohort of 10-year-old children with CHD after cardiopulmonary bypass surgery.
Motor performance and movement quality were examined in 129 children with CHD using the Zurich Neuromotor Assessment providing four timed and one qualitative component, and a total timed motor score was created based on the four timed components. The Beery Test of Visual–Motor Integration and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire were administered.
All Zurich Neuromotor Assessment motor tasks were below normative values (all p ≤ 0.001), and the prevalence of poor motor performance (≤10th percentile) ranged from 22.2% to 61.3% in the different components. Visuomotor integration and motor coordination were poorer compared to norms (all p ≤ 0.001). 14% of all analysed children had motor therapy at the age of 10 years. Children with a total motor score ≤10th percentile showed more internalising (p = 0.002) and externalising (p = 0.028) behavioural problems.
School-aged children with CHD show impairments in a variety of motor domains which are related to behavioural problems. Our findings emphasise that motor problems can persist into school-age and require detailed assessment and support.
Motor performance and movement quality were quantitatively examined (Zurich Neuromotor Assessment: timed motor performances and associated movements) in 87 prospectively enrolled very-low-birthweight (VLBW; <1250g) children (38 males, 49 females; mean birthweight 1016.2g [SD 141.5]:, range 720–1240g; mean gestational age 28.7wks [SD 2], range 25.7–33.4wks) at 6 years of age. All motor tasks were below the reference population: pure motor (median z-score) –0.46; adaptive fine motor (pegboard) –0.99; adaptive gross motor –0.88; static balance –0.48; and associated movements –1.90. All tasks correlated with the degree of neurological abnormalities (p[les ]0.004). VLBW children with no neurological abnormality also performed below the 10th centile and associated movements occurred more frequently than in the reference population (odds ratio 18, 95% confidence interval 6.7–47.9). Severity of periventricular leukomalacia and intraventricular haemorrhage assessed by ultrasound was associated with adaptive fine and gross motor tasks. We conclude that speed of motor performance and movement quality in particular were substantially impaired in VLBW children and are related to the degree of neurological abnormalities and neonatal cerebral injury.
Timed performance in specific motor tasks is an essential component of a neurological examination applied to children with motor dysfunctions. This article provides centile curves describing normal developmental course and interindividual variation of timed performances of non-disabled children from 5 to 18 years. In a cross-sectional study (n=662) the following motor tasks were investigated: repetitive finger movements, hand and foot movements, alternating hand and foot movements, sequential finger movements, pegboard, and dynamic and static balance. Intraobserver, interobserver, and test–retest reliability for timed measurements were moderate to high. Timed performances improved throughout the entire prepubertal period, but differed among various motor tasks with respect to increase in speed and when the ‘adolescent plateau’ was reached. Centile curves of timed performance displayed large interindividual variation for all motor tasks. At no age were clinically relevant sex differences noted, nor did socioeconomic status significantly correlate with timed performance. Our results demonstrate that timed motor performances between 5 and 18 years are characterized by a long-lasting developmental change and a large interindividual variation. Therefore, a well standardized test instrument, and age-specific standards for motor performances are necessary preconditions for a reliable assessment of motor competence in school-age children.
Associated movements (AMs) are the most frequently assessed parameters of movement quality in children with motor dysfunctions. In this article, reference curves of duration and degree of AMs from 5 to 18 years are provided. In a cross-sectional study of non-disabled children (n=662) duration and degree of AMs were estimated at six specific ages while children performed repetitive finger, hand, and foot movements, alternating hand and foot movements, diadochokinesis, sequential finger movements, pegboard, stress gaits, and dynamic balance. Moderate-to-high intraobserver and interobserver reliability for the assessment of AMs were noted. Duration and degree of AMs displayed a non-linear developmental course that was a function of the motor task's complexity. AMs decreased most with age in repetitive movements, less in alternating and sequential movements, and least in the pegboard and dynamic balance. Reference curves demonstrated large interindividual variations for duration and degree of AMs. Both the variable developmental course and large interindividual variation need to be taken into account in the assessment of movement quality of school-age children. In contrast to timed performance, considerable sex differences for AMs were observed.
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