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Changing trend in perinatal management and outcome of extremely low birthweight (ELBW) infants

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Perinatal care of the extremely preterm and low birthweight (ELBW) infant is founded on basic principles of physiology and knowledge about the prevailing pathophysiological mechanisms. New therapies in clinical care are usually introduced non‐uniformly, so more often there is a gradual rather than a sudden change in the development of perinatal care, conceivably involving also an important learning process. This was confirmed in an evaluation of respiratory care for ELBW infants (n = 325) over a 9‐year period (1986–1994). Although birthweight (mean 815 g) and degree of immaturity at birth (mean 26.7 weeks of gestation) did not change over the years, our trend analysis showed that the survival rate increased from 47% to 70% (p < 0.04) and the percentage of survivors without bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or major intracranial haemorrhages (ICH grades 3 and 4) increased from 67% to 87% (p < 0.006). We suggest that besides medical treatment per se, refinement and tuning of nursing and medical care procedures will also affect the total outcome of ELBW infants.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: NICU, Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

Publication date: 1997-07-01

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