Background: Extremely preterm infants are at high risk of neonatal mortality and adverse outcome. Survival rates are slowly improving, but increased survival may come at the expense of more handicaps. Methodology/Principal Findings: Prospective population-based cohort study of all infants born at 23 to 27 weeks of gestation in the Netherlands in 2007. 276 of 345 (80%) infants were born alive. Early neonatal death occurred in 96 (34.8%) live born infants, including 61 cases of delivery room death. 29 (10.5%) infants died during the late neonatal period. Survival rates for live born infants at 23, 24, 25 and 26 weeks of gestation were 0%, 6.7%, 57.9% and 71% respectively. 43.1% of 144 surviving infants developed severe neonatal morbidity (retinopathy of prematurity grade ≥3, bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or severe brain injury). At two years of age 70.6% of the children had no disability, 17.6% was mild disabled and 11.8% had a moderate-to-severe disability. Severe brain injury (p = 0.028), retinopathy of prematurity grade ≥3 (p = 0.024), low gestational age (p = 0.019) and non-Dutch nationality of the mother (p = 0.004) increased the risk of disability. Conclusions/Significance: 52% of extremely preterm infants born in the Netherlands in 2007 survived. Surviving infants had less severe neonatal morbidity compared to previous studies. At two years of age less than 30% of the infants were disabled. Disability was associated with gestational age and neonatal morbidity.

dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0041302, hdl.handle.net/1765/62401
PLoS ONE
Department of Pediatrics

de Waal, C.G, Weisglas-Kuperus, N, van Goudoever, J.B, & Walther, F.J. (2012). Mortality, neonatal morbidity and two year follow-up of extremely preterm infants born in the netherlands in 2007. PLoS ONE, 7(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041302