Aims: To determine the survival and disability rates at 7-8 years in infants of less than 28 weeks gestation born in New Zealand in 1986 and admitted to a neonatal unit.
Methods: In 1986, all infants with birthweight less than 1500 g and admitted to neonatal units were enrolled in a prospective audit of retinopathy of prematurity. Surviving infants, including the subset born at less than 28 weeks gestation, have been assessed at a home visit. Parents completed a comprehensive questionnaire and children underwent a visual assessment and were tested on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.
Results: Of 126 liveborn infants less than 28 weeks gestation, 80 (64%) survived to 7-8 years. Sixty eight children (97% survivors resident in New Zealand) were assessed: 72% had no, and 86% no or only mild disability, 77% had some visual problem, with close to one-third having myopia, strabismus or requiring spectacles and 32% received Ministry of Education funded special needs assistance.
Conclusions: There have been few long-term follow-up studies of infants of less than 28 weeks gestation born in a defined geographical area. The outcome for New Zealand infants is comparable with that in other published data.