Aim To review the most recent data on the outcome of very premature babies (22–25 weeks gestational age - GA).
Material and Methods We performed a PubMed search using as key words the following “extremely preterm baby” and “outcome”. We did not utilise the studies where outcomes were not given in relationship with the exact gestational age at birth. We utilised the studies that reported either survival or health as the examined outcomes.
Results We retrieved 33 papers, 6 of which fulfilled the search criteria. Survival for babies born at 22, 23, 24 and 25 weeks range 27–64, 7–64, 25–79 and 46–89 respectively. Other outcomes are more detailed: the outcomes improve with the GA, and varies according with the type of disability we analyzed. Discussion: several studies are based on few cases, and therefore they have limited value, but some have a huge population and the data they give are very useful and new.
Conclusion With respect to previous data based on populations of babies born in the last century, the present data show an improvement in both survival and neurologic outcome, though both remain severe. Current guidelines on resuscitation should be reviewed accordingly.