Early Mortality and Morbidity in Infants with Birth Weight of 500 Grams or Less in Japan

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the short-term prognosis of Japanese infants with a birth weight (BW) of ≤500 g.

Study design

Demographic and clinical data were reviewed for 1473 live born infants with a BW ≤500 g at gestational age ≥22 weeks who were treated in the 204 affiliated hospitals of the Neonatal Research Network of Japan between 2003 and 2012.

Results

Survival to hospital discharge occurred in 811 of 1473 infants (55%; 95% CI 53%-58%). The survival rates of BW ≤300 g, 301-400 g, and 401-500 g were 18% (95% CI 10%-31%), 41% (95% CI 36%-47%), and 60% (95% CI 57%-63%), respectively. In a multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis, antenatal corticosteroid use (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.68; 95% CI 0.58-0.81; P < .01), cesarean delivery (0.69; 95% CI 0.56-0.85; P < .01), advanced gestational age per week (0.94; 95% CI 0.89-0.99; P = .02), BW per 100-g increase (0.55; 95% CI 0.49-0.64; P < .01), Apgar score ≥4 at 5 minutes (0.51; 95% CI 0.43-0.61; P < .01), and no major congenital abnormalities (0.38; 95% CI 0.29-0.51; P < .01) were associated with survival to discharge. Despite the improved survival rate over the 10-year study period (from 40% in 2003 [95% CI 30%-51%] to 68% in 2012 [95% CI 61%-75%]), at least 1 severe morbidity was present in 81%-89% of the survivors.

Conclusions

Improvements in perinatal-neonatal medicine have improved the survival, but not the rate of major morbidities, of infants with a BW ≤500 g in Japan.

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