Objective: To assess evolution in the care and health of very preterm babies between 1998 and 2003 after implementation of a regionalisation policy in France.
Design: Comparison of two population-based cohorts.
Setting: The Parisian region.
Patients: All live births at 24-31 weeks of gestation in 1997 (EPIPAGE study, n=488) and in 2003 (MOSAIC study, n=580). Interventions Implementation of regionalised perinatal networks. Main outcome measures In-hospital mortality and morbidity, including intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) grade III and IV, cystic periventricular leucomalacia (PVL) and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).
Results: Over this period, babies born in level III units rose from 67% to 77% and use of antenatal corticosteroids, indicated deliveries and surfactant increased. In-hospital mortality and IVH grades III/IV declined, ORs of 0.66 (95% CI 0.46 to 0.95) and 0.27 (95% CI 0.15 to 0.47), respectively, while PVL and BPD stayed constant. The rate of very preterm babies discharged alive per 1000 total births increased by 18%, but declined for babies with severe brain lesions.
Conclusions: The authors found improvements in mortality and morbidity for very preterm babies and changes in their care over a 6-year period following reinforcement of regionalisation policies.