Objective: To describe the clinical course, neonatal morbidity, and neurodevelopmental outcomes of very low-birth-weight (<1500 g) children who develop pulmonary hemorrhage.
Design: A retrospective case-control study in which 58 very low-birth-weight infants who developed pulmonary hemorrhage during 1990 through 1994, of whom 29 survived, were each matched to the next admitted infant who required mechanical ventilation for respiratory distress syndrome and was of the same sex, race, and birth weight (within 250 g).
Setting: A regional tertiary neonatal intensive care unit and follow-up clinic for high-risk infants at University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio.
Main outcome measures: Survival, neonatal morbidity, and neurodevelopmental outcome at 20 months' corrected age.
Results: Pulmonary hemorrhage occurred in 5.7% of the total population of very low-birth-weight infants. Despite similar severity of lung disease, significantly more infants who developed pulmonary hemorrhage received surfactant therapy compared with controls (91% vs 69%, P = .005). Infants with pulmonary hemorrhage who died had a lower birth weight and gestational age compared with those who survived (766 g vs 1023 g; 25 weeks vs 28 weeks, P<.001) and more received surfactant therapy (100% vs 83%, P = .05). Survivors with pulmonary hemorrhage did not differ significantly from controls in rates of oxygen dependence at 36 weeks corrected age (52% vs 38%), grade 3 to 4 periventricular hemorrhage (28% vs 17%), or necrotizing enterocolitis (3% vs 7%), but tended to have more seizures (24% vs 3%, P = .05), periventricular leucomalacia (17% vs 0%, P = .06), and patent ductus arteriosus (79% vs 55%, P =.09). There were no significant differences in neurodevelopmental outcomes at 20 months' corrected age, (cerebral palsy, 16% vs 14%; subnormal [<70] Bayley Mental Developmental Index, 59% vs 43%; and deafness, 13% vs 10%).
Conclusion: Although mortality is high, pulmonary hemorrhage does not significantly increase the risk of later pulmonary or neurodevelopmental disabilities among those who survive.