Outcomes of infants born at 22–27 weeks' gestation in Victoria according to outborn/inborn birth status

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To compare mortality and serious morbidity rates between outborn and inborn livebirths at 22–27 weeks' gestation.


Population-based cohort study.


Victoria, Australia.


Livebirths at 22–27 weeks' gestation free of major malformations in 2010–2011.


Outcome data for outborn (born outside a tertiary perinatal centre) infants compared with inborn (born in a tertiary perinatal centre) infants were analysed by logistic regression, adjusted for gestational age, birth weight and sex.

Main outcome measures

Infant mortality and serious morbidity rates to hospital discharge.


541 livebirths free of major malformations were recorded. By 1 year, 49 (58%) outborns and 140 (31%) inborns died (adjusted OR (aOR) 2.78, 95% CI 1.52 to 5.09, p=0.001). In total, 445 infants were admitted to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU); 93 died by 1 year (14/49 outborns and 79/396 inborns), (aOR 1.75, 95% CI 0.87 to 3.55, p=0.12). There were no significant differences in rates of necrotising enterocolitis, intraventricular haemorrhage, retinopathy of prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) or the combined outcome of death or BPD in outborn infants compared with inborn infants. Outborns had an increased risk of cystic periventricular leukomalacia (cPVL) compared with inborns (12.2% vs 2.8%, respectively; aOR 5.34, 95% CI 1.84 to 15.54, p=0.002).


Mortality rates remained higher for outborn livebirths at 22–27 weeks' gestation compared with inborn peers in 2010–2011. Outborn infants admitted to NICU did not have substantially different rates of mortality or serious morbidity compared with inborns, with the exception of cPVL. Longer-term health consequences of outborn birth before 28 weeks' gestation need to be determined.

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