(HealthDay News) – For babies born extremely preterm, survival increased from 1995–2006, but the number of serious health problems remained largely unchanged, according to two studies published online Dec. 4 in BMJ.
Kate L. Costeloe, MD, from the Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues examined survival and neonatal morbidity for babies born at 22–26 weeks of gestation in 2006, and assessed changes since 1995. The researchers found that overall survival and survival at each week of gestation increased significantly from 1995–2006. For babies born in 1995 and 2006, the proportions with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, major cerebral scan abnormality, or weight and/or head circumference less than −2 standard deviations were similar, while there was an increase in the proportion treated for retinopathy of prematurity.
Tamanna Moore, BM, BS, from the University College London Institute for Women’s Health, and colleagues examined outcomes at 3 years for babies born before 27 completed weeks of gestation in 2006, and the changes in outcomes from 1995–2006. The researchers found that, of the babies evaluated after birth in 2006, severe impairment was seen in 13.4% and moderate impairment was seen in 11.8%. Neurodevelopmental impairment increased as gestational age decreased. The proportion of survivors born at 22–25 weeks with severe disability was 18% in 1995 and 19% in 2006. From 1995–2006 there was an increase in survival of babies admitted to neonatal care and an increase in survival without disability.
“Since 1995 we have demonstrated improvements in survival at extremely low gestational ages and in the proportion of survivors who have no disability,” Moore and colleagues write.