The use of a smartphone app, Baby Moves, and the assessment of early spontaneous movements in infants born extremely preterm and/or extremely low birthweight
AuthorKwong, Amanda Ka-Ling
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2021-11-21.
© 2019 Amanda Ka-Ling Kwong
Infants born extremely preterm (EP, <28 weeks’ gestational age) and/or extremely low birthweight (ELBW, <1000 g) are at higher risk of developmental delay and/or disabilities, such as cerebral palsy (CP), compared with infants born at term. Early detection is paramount to ensure that infants who are at the highest risk of developmental delays are identified early to commence intervention and improve functional outcomes. The General Movements Assessment (GMA) involves visual clinical recognition of patterns of spontaneous infant movement from video recordings and is a key assessment for the diagnosis of high-risk CP but is not universally accessible due to resource constraints, such as limited out-patient follow-up services. The Baby Moves smartphone application (app) offers a novel method of allowing clinicians to partner with parents by providing them with a tool to record their infant’s movements via their smartphone to be used for a remote GMA. This thesis explores the feasibility of Baby Moves in a geographical sample of infants born EP/ELBW and at term, and whether there is a relationship between perinatal clinical history, GMA, and motor outcome at 4 months’ corrected age. Furthermore, this thesis investigates the nuances of the GMA in relation to preterm birth. Study 1 is a systematic review of the literature investigated the reported predictive validity of spontaneous infant movements for later CP. Forty-seven studies were identified, with fidgety movements assessed according to the Prechtl GMA found to be the most accurate spontaneous movement for predicting CP. Study 2 is a cohort study, which was conducted within a geographical sample of infants born EP/ELBW and term-matched controls. Of the 226 infants born EP/ELBW and 225 infants born at term who were recruited to the study, at least one video was received from 158 and 188 families of infants born EP/ELBW or at term respectively. This thesis found that families tended to use Baby Moves less if they were of lower sociodemographic status, regardless of whether the infants were born EP/ELBW. Families found Baby Moves easy to use and considered it a secure way to transmit videos. Study 3 analysed the data from infants’ GMA further and the occurrence and trajectories of fidgety movements was explored. Infants tended to have more normal fidgety movements with increasing age within a window of 12-16+6 weeks’ corrected age regardless of birth group (EP/ELBW vs term). More infants born EP/ELBW had absent/abnormal fidgety movements than term-born controls. Study 4 explored the relationships of perinatal variables with absent/abnormal fidgety movements within the EP/ELBW cohort. Brain injury was independently associated with absent/abnormal fidgety movements. Finally, Study 5 assessed 4-month motor outcomes in a sample of 56 infants born EP/ELBW. There was a high rate of motor impairment within this sample. Brain injury was strongly related to poorer 4-month motor outcome and neonatal surgery was independently related to a poorer AIMS score. Absent/abnormal fidgety movements were not associated with 4-month motor outcomes. Findings from this thesis provide insight into the GMA and confirm that smartphone technology can be used with the GMA in a population of infants born EP/ELBW and at term.
Keywordscerebral palsy; General Movements Assessment; smartphone; early detection; preterm birth; cohort study; paediatrics; physiotherapy
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