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December 4, 1996

Extremely Low-Birth-Weight Infants at Adolescence: Health Status and Quality of Life

Author Affiliations

Berkeley, Calif

JAMA. 1996;276(21):1722. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540210030022

To the Editor.  —In their study of the self-perceived quality of life of extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW) adolescents, Dr Saigal and colleagues1 urge that "a great deal of caution be exercised" regarding possible clinical application of the high quality-of-life scores reported by the prematurely born teenagers. As the parent of a young adult with disabilities and as a medical writer familiar with the Canadian ELBW cohort, I would like to underscore this point. Caution is warranted because the 150 ELBW teenagers (compared with a control group of 124 term-born teenagers) have significantly underreported documented disabilities.At age 8 years, the ELBW and control children were evaluated by clinicians using a health status classification system.2,3 By clinical evaluation, 21% of the ELBW children had impaired mobility.2,3 However, only 10% of the ELBW teenagers, using the same health status classification system, reported mobility problems.1 At age 8 years, 1