The Swedish Approach to Management of Extreme Prematurity at the Borderline of Viability: A Historical and Ethical Perspective

Pediatrics. 2018 Sep;142(Suppl 1):S533-S538. doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-0478C.


Sweden has a long tradition of being at the forefront of the management of extremely preterm infants. In this article, we explore the historical background, ethical discussions, and evidence from national surveys combined with data from quality registers that form the background of the current Swedish guidelines for the care of extremely preterm infants. The current Swedish national guidelines suggest providing active care for preterm infants from 23 weeks' gestation and considering active care from 22 weeks' gestation. The survival of infants in gestational weeks 22 and 23 has increased and now exceed 50% and 60%, respectively; importantly, the Swedish proactive approach to care at the border of viability has not resulted in an increased proportion of functional impairment among survivors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Fetal Viability / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant Care / ethics*
  • Infant Care / methods
  • Infant Care / trends
  • Infant, Extremely Premature / physiology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy*
  • Registries / ethics
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Sweden / epidemiology