Objective: To compare risk-adjusted changes in outcomes of preterm infants <29 weeks gestation born in 1996 to 1997 with those born in 2006 to 2007.
Study design: Observational retrospective comparison of data from 15 units that participated in the Canadian Neonatal Network during 1996 to 1997 and 2006 to 2007 was performed. Rates of mortality and common neonatal morbidities were compared after adjustment for confounders.
Result: Data on 1897 infants in 1996 to 1997 and 1866 infants in 2006 to 2007 were analyzed. A higher proportion of patients in the later cohort received antenatal steroids and had lower acuity of illness on admission. Unadjusted analyses revealed reduction in mortality (unadjusted odds ratio (UAOR): 0.83, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.63, 0.98), severe retinopathy (UAOR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.50 to 0.92), but increase in bronchopulmonary dysplasia (UAOR: 1.61, 95% CI: 1.39 to 1.86) and patent ductus arteriosus (UAOR: 1.22, 95% CI: 1.07 to 1.39). Adjusted analyses revealed increases in the later cohort for bronchopulmonary dysplasia (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 1.88, 95% CI: 1.60 to 2.20) and severe neurological injury (AOR: 1.49, 95% CI: 1.22 to 1.80). However, the ascertainment methods for neurological findings and ductus arteriosus differed between the two time periods.
Conclusion: Improvements in prenatal care has resulted in improvement in the quality of care, as reflected by reduced severity of illness and mortality. However, after adjustment of prenatal factors, no improvement in any of the outcomes was observed and on the contrary bronchopulmonary dysplasia increased. There is need for identification and application of postnatal strategies to improve outcomes of extreme preterm infants.