Morbidity and mortality of infants born at the threshold of viability: ten years' experience in a single neonatal intensive care unit, 1991-2000

Pediatr Int. 2006 Feb;48(1):33-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2006.02154.x.


Background: The purpose of the present paper was to evaluate the mortality and morbidity of infants born at 22-24 weeks gestation.

Methods: A total of 78 infants born at 22-24 weeks gestation, who were admitted between January 1991 through December 2000, were retrospectively studied.

Results: Seventy-one of 78 infants were enrolled in the present study. One year survival rates at 22, 23 and 24 weeks were 40.0% (2/5), 61.1% (11/18), and 50.0% (24/48), respectively. Failure of response to surfactant and air leak were associated with death in infants born at 23 weeks gestation. Low Apgar score, intraventricular hemorrhage (> or =III), and sepsis were correlated with death in infants born at 24 weeks gestation. The handicap rates of survivors born at 22, 23, and 24 weeks gestation were 100, 36.4, and 26.1%, respectively.

Conclusions: The present study indicates that infants born at 22 weeks gestation, in whom pulmonary structure is established, that is, a viable lung that can exchange gas with exogenous surfactant, have a chance to survive, but neurological outcome is still poor. Every possible effort should be made to extend gestation beyond 22 weeks.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / mortality
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / psychology*
  • Male
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate