Health-related quality of life in 5-year-old very low birth weight infants

J Pediatr. 2009 Sep;155(3):338-43.e1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.03.061. Epub 2009 Jun 24.


Objective: To investigate the effect of preterm birth, the time of birth, and birth hospital level and district on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs).

Study design: This national study included all very low birth weight infants (VLBWIs; birth weight <or= 1500 g or gestational age < 32 weeks) born in Finland between 2000 and 2003 (n = 1169; live-born, n = 900) and full-term controls (n = 368). Register data and parental questionnaires were used. The relationships among HRQoL and QALYs at age 5 years and preterm birth, time of birth, and the level and district of the birth hospital were studied.

Results: HRQoL at age 5 years was lower and 1.3 QALYs were lost in VLBWIs compared with controls. Regional differences in the QALYs of VLBWIs were found among the 5 university hospital districts. Birth hospital level or birth outside office hours had no effect on the QALYs of live-born VLBWIs. The adjusted HRQoL total score was not affected by birth outside office hours or by the birth hospital level or district.

Conclusions: Differences in QALYs related to hospital district suggest variation in the care of VLBWIs that needs to be addressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years*
  • Registries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors