Objective: This study aimed to determine survival, neonatal morbidity, and outcomes at 1 and 2 years in children who were born very preterm, and to analyse any relation to enteral feeding.
Methods: We performed a prospective, observational study on very preterm infants (range: 23-31 weeks' gestation) born at Innsbruck Medical University Hospital, Austria, between 2007 and 2014 (n = 557).
Results: The overall survival rate was 94.6%. Survival rates were 77.8%, 78.6%, 90.9%, and 90.9% among those born at 24, 25, 26, and 27 weeks, and 97.3%, 95.3%, 98.3%, and 100% among those born at 28, 29, 30, and 31 weeks of gestation, respectively. The overall prevalence of chronic lung disease among survivors was 7.3%. The prevalence of necrotizing enterocolitis requiring surgery, intraventricular haemorrhage grades 3 and 4, and severe retinopathy of prematurity was 3.1%, 2.1%, and 6.2%, respectively. There was no difference in short-term morbidity or neurodevelopmental outcome at 1 or 2 years of corrected age between infants who were fed with human milk at discharge and those who were formula-fed.
Conclusion: In the current study, mortality and short-term morbidity rates were low. No differences regarding feeding strategy were detected.
Keywords: Preterm infant; enteral feeding strategy; human milk; neurodevelopment; outcome; small for gestational age; survival.