Aim: The purpose of this study was to compare neonatal outcome (mortality, respiratory distress syndrome, intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotising enterocolitis, persisting ductus arteriosus, and septicaemia) after intrauterine transport versus neonatal transport in an area where short-distance transport is the rule.
Methods: The study was retrospective in nature. The files of all neonates delivered between 24 and 34 weeks from 1994 to 1998 and transported intrauterine or postnatally to the Antwerp University Hospital were reviewed. Cases of intrauterine fetal death and mothers discharged before delivery were excluded, as were infants with lethal congenital anomalies.
Results: A total of 328 deliveries after intrauterine transport, resulting in 416 neonates and 187 neonates transported postnatally were included. The maximum distance patients had to be transported was 40 km. Placental abruption was more frequent in the mothers of the neonatal transport group (13 vs. 5%, P=0.001). Corticosteroids were administered significantly less in the neonatal transport group (67 vs. 13%, P<0.0001). Preterm rupture of the membranes (36 vs. 20%, P<0.0001), preterm labour (73 vs. 36%, P<0.0001), and pre-eclampsia (10 vs. 7%, P<0.0001) were more frequent in the intrauterine transport group and this group had a lower mean birthweight and gestational age. There was no significant difference for overall neonatal mortality, respiratory distress syndrome, intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotising enterocolitis, persisting ductus arteriosus or septicaemia.