Health status of a population of infants born before 26 weeks gestation derived from routine data collected between 21 and 27 months post-delivery

Early Hum Dev. 1999 May;55(1):9-18. doi: 10.1016/s0378-3782(99)00003-1.


This retrospective study was designed: (a) to determine the extent to which routine data sources in the UK can provide data relating to the later health status of selected groups of infants; and (b) to use such an approach to describe the outcome of a geographically defined population of infants born before 26 weeks gestation. All infants of less than 26 weeks gestation admitted for neonatal intensive care during the period 1/1/91 and 31/12/93 whose mother's address at the time of birth was within the boundaries of the Trent Health Region were included. Health status was assessed against a previously described simple scheme and using information from existing sources only. During the 3-year period 249 infants of less than 26 weeks gestation were admitted for intensive care. Of these 66 (26.5%) survived to be discharged from the neonatal service. A further seven infants died before the age of 2 years. Of the remaining 59 four were lost to follow up (three could not be traced; one was living abroad). Of the 55 infants reviewed, 36 demonstrated no features, pre-defined in the classification scheme, of severe disability. However, only 30 children appeared to be considered entirely normal.

Conclusion: Infants born before 26 weeks gestation and admitted for neonatal intensive care had, approximately, a 12% chance of normal survival to 2 years. A slightly smaller proportion of infants survived with significant disability. Existing routine data sources could be adapted to provide useful public health information about the outcome of 'high risk' groups of infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Female
  • Gestational Age*
  • Health Status*
  • Hearing Loss, Functional / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / growth & development*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / statistics & numerical data
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United Kingdom
  • Vision Disorders / etiology