Objective: To determine the incidence of grade III or IV intraventricular hemorrhage in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants born at level I hospitals and transported to one tertiary center compared with those delivered at the same level III facility.
Methods: We evaluated all newborns admitted to a large tertiary neonatal intensive care unit from June 1, 1992, through December 31, 1995. All live born infants with birth weights of 500-1200 g and at least 24 weeks' gestation were included. Neonatal transports within 24 hours of delivery from 11 level I facilities were compared with those delivered at the same level III center with respect to grade III and IV intraventricular hemorrhage. Various antenatal and neonatal data were collected.
Results: Thirty-seven newborns (11%) experienced grade III or IV intraventricular hemorrhages among 329 who met study criteria. There were 27 cases (9%) in the 285 inborn neonates compared with 10 of 44 outborn cases (23%) (P < .02, 95% confidence interval 0.15, 0.87). The mean gestational age of the neonates with grade III or IV intraventricular hemorrhages was significantly lower in the inborn group, which further emphasizes the finding. No other study factors explained the difference.
Conclusion: We found a higher risk for grade III or IV intraventricular hemorrhage developing in VLBW infants born at level I hospitals and transported to the tertiary care center compared with those born at the level III facility. This data should be considered when analyzing the potential effects of perinatal deregionalization.