Major congenital or acquired structural abnormalities of the brain, with significant prognostic implications have rarely been emphasised in apparently normal infants. Our purpose was to investigate the prevalence and types of major brain lesions in clinically normal term neonates using sonography. From January 1999 to December 2001, we examined 2309 clinically normal term neonates within 3 days of birth. Of these, six (0.26%) had major brain lesions, including three cases of intracerebral haemorrhage (two grade II intraventricular and one temporal lobe haemorrhage), two of corpus callosum agenesis and one lacunar infarct in the territory of the left middle cerebral artery. One child was lost to follow-up, because of adoption, and four had borderline to significant developmental delay at a mean age of 24 months (range 12-36 months). Although the prevalence of major brain lesions was low, these infants have a higher risk of later neurodevelopmental disability, despite an early asymptomatic period. Universal neonatal brain ultrasound screening may help early diagnosis of rare major lesions, some of which have prognostic implications.
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