In a study involving 25 preterm infants, clinical obstetric age (standard gestational age) was determined by history, physical examination, and ultrasound evaluation. After birth, these babies were evaluated using the Dubowitz Scoring System (DSS) for the evaluation of gestational age.
Significantly overestimated gestational age compared to standard gestational age (mean +/- 1 SD: 34.2 +/- 2.9 vs 32.5 +/- 3.9 weeks, respectively) in preterm infants. By way of illustration, the gestational ages of 13 newborns (52%) in the total study group were each overestimated by more than two weeks. This percentage increased to 75% among the 16 babies whose gestational ages were less than 34 weeks (based on standard gestational age).
When the standard gestational age was underestimated by the DSS, this difference never exceeded two weeks. These findings suggest that the current system of postnatal assessment of gestational age in preterm infants needs further investigation.
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