An analysis of neonatal morbidity and mortality in maternal (in utero) and neonatal transports at 24-34 weeks' gestation

Am J Perinatol. 1997 Sep;14(8):449-56. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-994178.


Sophisticated neonatal transport has improved the safety of transporting preterm infants, but may not substitute for the benefits of in utero transport. To describe gestational age trends and assess differences in complications between maternal (in utero) and neonatal transports, we analyzed maternal and neonatal transports, over 3 years, to the only tertiary center in the region. Those who delivered between 24 and 34 weeks' gestation were included in the analysis. Gestational age trends for each complication are described, showing, in general, decreasing morbidity with gestational age in both groups. These trends were usually parallel, but not equal. A significantly greater mean neonatal intensive care unit (p = 0.003) and total length of stay (p = 0.006) as well as longer ventilator time (p = 0.01) and oxygen therapy exposure (p = 0.018) were noted in those transported neonatally. The incidence of respiratory distress syndrome (p < 0.001), bronchopulmonary dysplasia (p = 0.027), intraventricular hemorrhage (p = 0.041), intraventricular hemorrhage grades III and IV (p = 0.008), patent ductus arteriosus (p = 0.032), and mortality (p = 0.001) were all significantly greater among the neonatal transports. The differences were not significant for retinopathy of prematurity, hyperbilirubinemia, necrotizing enterocolitis, periventricular leukomalacia, and culture proven sepsis. Specialized neonatal transport and advanced neonatology techniques have not removed the significant advantage of decreased morbidity, mortality, and length of hospital intervention resulting from maternal (in utero) transport.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery, Obstetric*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Morbidity
  • Patient Transfer*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Pregnancy Outcome*