Objective: To evaluate the mortality and long-term morbidity rates of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants admitted to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).
Study design: This was a longitudinal cohort study of all admissions born between 1983 and 2003 with birth weight ≤ 800 g at a single tertiary NICU. Trends in survival and neurodevelopmental outcome rates at school entry in four 5-year epochs were analyzed.
Results: Of 917 admissions, 552 survived to NICU discharge, with significantly increasing survival rates from 46% in epoch 1 to 71% in epoch 4 (P < .0001). Although the overall impairment rate of 30% did not change, the pattern of impairments did. Cognitive (P = .017) and hearing (P = .014) impairment rates increased. Visual impairment rates decreased (P = .042), with a trend toward decreasing cerebral palsy from 20% to 12% (P = .061).
Conclusions: Improved survival of low birth weight preterm infants has been associated with different types of neurodevelopmental impairments, including increased cognitive impairment rates.
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