Background Advances in perinatal medicine have allowed significant improvements in survival of preterm infants over the past two decades. However, infants with birth weight less than 1000 g still provide a considerable challenge. We aim to determine the morbidity and mortality of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants in 2005–6 and compare with published data from a similar cohort from 1990–2.1
Methods Data were provided by the Neonatal Intensive Care Outcomes, Research and Evaluation (NICORE) group on infants admitted to the Regional Neonatal Unit, Belfast, on day one of life in 2005–6.2
Results See table. The proportion of multiple births increased from 30% to 64%, p<0.001. The use of antenatal steroids was more widespread in 2005–6: 89% versus 59%, p<0.001. Surfactant administration also increased 42% to 94%, p<0.001. Steroids for chronic lung disease had reduced in 2005–6 compared with 1990–2: 9.1% versus 54%, p<0.001. There was no significant change in the rates of oxygen requirements and severe brain injury.
Conclusions Differences in the cohort characteristics, eg, multiple births, may explain the lack of reduction in mortality. Future comparisons will be based on the NICORE database in order to minimise selection bias.1