Aim: To assess survival and neurodevelopmental outcome of extremely preterm infants over a 20-year period at a single tertiary neonatal centre.
Methods: All infants between 22 and 25(+6) weeks of gestation admitted to a single UK neonatal centre between 1981 and 2000 were enrolled prospectively. Infants in the same gestational age range who were born alive at the hospital but not admitted to the neonatal unit were also identified over the period 1991-2000. All surviving infants received neurological and developmental assessment at a corrected age of 1 year.
Results: There was a progressive increase in survival at all gestational ages over the 20-year period. Overall survival rose from 32% to 71% as a proportion of all admissions. The proportion of survivors with adverse neurodevelopmental outcome at 1 year of age showed no consistent change over the same period.
Conclusion: In this single centre cohort study, marked improvements in survival over a 20-year period were not accompanied by a significant increase in neurodevelopmental morbidity.