Survival and neurodevelopmental outcome to 2 years were determined for two cohorts of infants weighing 500 to 999 gm at birth, born in a tertiary maternity hospital. Live births increased over time from an annual average of 48.7 in the first era (January 1977 to March 1982) to 64.6 in the second era (January 1985 to December 1987), largely from referrals of additional mothers with pregnancy complications. In the first era, 33.6% (86/256) of infants survived to 2 years; the survival rate improved significantly to 45.9% (89/194) in era 2. After adjustment for birth weight, the odds ratio for survival in era 2 versus era 1 was 1.39 (95% confidence interval = 1.12, 1.73; p less than 0.01). One known survivor in each era was not seen at 2 years of age. In the first era, 59.3% (51/86) of 2-year-old children were free of disability compared with 68.5% (61/89) in era 2 (NS), but the Mental Development Index of the Bayley Scales improved significantly, from 90.0 in era 1 to 98.0 in era 2. For infants weighing less than 800 gm at birth, not only did the 2-year survival rate improve, adjusted for birth weight (odds ratio = 1.53; 95% confidence interval = 1.06, 2.20; p less than 0.05), but there was also a significant reduction in neurologic disabilities in survivors (p = 0.03). For infants weighing 800 to 999 gm at birth, there was a significant improvement in the survival rate, adjusted for birth weight (odds ratio = 1.37; 95% confidence interval = 1.04, 1.79; p less than 0.05), but the rate of neurologic disabilities was unchanged. Increased survival in our tertiary maternity center was achieved without increasing the annual number of severely disabled 2-year-old survivors.