The aim was to assess the correlation between cerebral autoregulation and outcome. Included were 31 preterm infants, gestational age 26 1/7 to 32 2/7 and <24 h life. Coherence between cerebral total haemoglobin (tHb) or oxygenation index (OI) measured by near-infrared spectrophotometry (NIRS) and systemic heart rate (HR) or arterial blood pressure (MAP) was calculated as a measure of autoregulation. In contrast to previous studies, low coherences in the first 24 h were significantly associated with intraventricular haemorrhage, death or abnormal neurodevelopmental outcome at 18 months or later. We suggest that our results can be explained by the concept of a multi-oscillatory-functions-order.