Outcomes for the extremely premature infant: what is new? And where are we going?

Two approaches were taken to determine what is new and where we are going in terms of outcomes for the extremely premature infant: publications from 2004 to 2007 were reviewed, and the 30-year outcome at the authors' institutions was assessed. Recent literature documents improving early childhood outcomes in the face of improved survival. Childhood cerebral palsy prevalence rates have been reported to be as low as 19 per 1000 live births for infants born at 20-27 weeks gestation. Vision and hearing loss have been reported in fewer than 1% of survivors. The rate of overall intellectual impairment has not improved, although impairment was reduced in a recent trial of caffeine therapy for apnea of prematurity, and this remains an important area for study. In sum, recent findings herald a more positive perspective on the outcome for extremely premature survivors. It can thus be expected that new intensive-care trials will attempt to reduce the proportion of survivors with adverse outcomes. Childhood assessments will have a greater focus on function and participation. Information on improved outcomes for preterm infants will inform guidelines of decision making used to help parents to determine what is best for their child. The audit component of follow-up studies will expand and more cohort and trial studies will become multicenter, national, and international.
AuthorsCharlene M T Robertson, Man-Joe Watt, Irina A Dinu
JournalPediatric neurology (Pediatr Neurol) Vol. 40 Issue 3 Pg. 189-96 (Mar 2009) ISSN: 0887-8994 [Print] United States
PMID19218032 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Review)
  • Animals
  • Developmental Disabilities (etiology)
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Extremely Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mental Disorders (etiology)
  • Premature Birth (epidemiology, pathology, physiopathology)
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies

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