Objective: To compare duration of ventilation to mortality and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes among extremely low birth weight (ELBW; 501-1000 g) infants.
Study design: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from 5364 infants with a birthweight of 501 to 1000 g born at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network centers from 1995 to 1998. The main outcome measures were: survival, duration of mechanical ventilation, and neurodevelopmental outcome.
Results: Overall survival was 71%. The median duration of ventilation for survivors was 23 days; 75% were free of mechanical ventilation by 39 days, and 7% were ventilated for > or = 60 days. Of those ventilated for > or = 60 days, 24% survived without impairment. Of those ventilated for > or = 90 days, only 7% survived without impairment. Of those ventilated > or = 120 days, all survivors were impaired.
Conclusions: The prognosis for ELBW with protracted ventilation remains grim. The cohort who remain intubated have diminished survival and high rates of impairment. Parents of these infants should be informed of changes in prognosis as the time of ventilation increases.