In a retrospective epidemiologic study conducted from January 1996 to December 2002, 2555 low-birth-weight infants (less than 2500 g) were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of E Herriot Hospital in Lyon, France. Very low birth weight (795 infants) was defined as a birth weight below 1500 g. The total mortality rate among these latter infants was 8%. The mortality rate was less than 25% among infants with a gestational age of at least 25 weeks. Neonatal morbidity mainly consisted of respiratory distress syndrome and cerebral hemorrhage. Sequelae at age 2 years (corrected) affected less than 10% of surviving in very-low-birth-weight infants. Gestational age is thus an important predictor of survival and functional outcome in very-low-birth-weight infants.