Objective: The objective of this study was to examine survival, morbidity, and resource use in a large cohort of extremely preterm infants.
Study design: We examined all (n = 754) neonatal intensive care unit admissions born at < or =25 weeks' gestation and inborn deliveries (n = 949) between 22 and 25 weeks' gestation at 17 Canadian neonatal intensive care units.
Results: The overall survival rate was 63%, with a range from 14% at 22 weeks' gestation to 76% at 25 weeks' gestation. There was a high incidence of chronic lung disease (33%-51%), > or =grade 3 intraventricular hemorrhage (0%-16%), necrotizing enterocolitis (0%-14%), > or =stage 3 retinopathy of prematurity (27%-55%), nosocomial infection (25%-39%), and multiple gestation (18%-46%). Extremely preterm infants comprise 4% of neonatal intensive care unit admissions but account for 22% of deaths, 20%-60% of major morbidities, 11% of patient days, and 10%-35% of major procedures. Outborn infants had a higher incidence of chronic lung disease, severe retinopathy of prematurity, and intraventricular hemorrhage.
Conclusion: Extremely preterm infants have a high incidence of mortality and morbidity and consume disproportionate amounts of neonatal intensive care unit resources.