National trends in the survival of low birthweight infants for the years 1953 to 1979 were examined. While stillbirth and day 1-28 mortality rates improved steadily throughout this period, day 0 mortality did not start to fall until the mid-1960s and then it improved in all birthweight groups. This suggests that special and intensive baby care units introduced progressively since about 1961 are exerting an appreciable effect on mortality. There is a serious lack of representative data on rates of handicap in the survivors.
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