Proactive approach at the limits of viability improves the short-term outcome of neonates born after 23 weeks' gestation

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of this single-center study was to identify factors that affect the short-term outcome of newborns delivered around the limits of viability.

Methods:

A group of 137 pregnant women who gave birth between 22+0/7 and 25+6/7 weeks of gestation was retrospectively studied. The center supports a proactive approach to infants around the limits of viability. Perinatal and neonatal characteristics were obtained and statistically evaluated.

Results:

A total of 166 live-born infants were enrolled during a 6-year period; 162 (97.6%) of them were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) and 119 (73.5%) survived until discharge. The decrease in neonatal mortality was associated with an advanced gestational age (P<0.001) and a completed course of corticosteroids (P=0.002). Neonatal morbidities were common among infants of all gestational ages. The incidence of severe intraventricular hemorrhage significantly depended on gestational age (P<0.001) and a completed course of corticosteroids (P=0.002). Survival without severe neonatal morbidities was 39.5% and occurred mostly after 24+0/7 weeks of gestation.

Conclusion:

The short-term outcome of newborns delivered around the limits of viability is mostly affected by gestational age and antenatal corticosteroid treatment. A consistently proactive approach improves the survival of infants at the limits of viability. This is most pronounced in cases where the delivery is delayed beyond 24 completed gestational weeks.

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