Good News for Preterm Infants

Preterm infant survival rates appear to be rising

(RxWiki News) Very preterm infants may be more likely to survive now than they were in previous years, according to a new study.

And they may be less likely to have neurological problems. That's coming from a review of data from a National Institutes of Health research network.

The Neonatal Research Network researchers behind this study looked at data for more than 4,000 very preterm infants (born at 22 to 24 weeks gestation) between 2000 and 2011.

In 2000, the survival rate for these preterm infants was 30 percent, these researchers found. In 2011, it was 36 percent. Also during that time period, the percentage of preterm infants who survived without having neurological problems jumped from 16 percent to 20 percent.

These researchers suggested that these improvements might be the result of better health care for mothers and newborns.

"Every individual is different, and no single source of information can precisely predict a baby's chances of survival or disability," said study author Dr. Rosemary Higgins, a program scientist at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in a press release. "But our study's findings do provide important information that physicians and family members can consult to help determine treatment strategies."

This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Grants from the National Institutes of Health and some of its agencies funded this research. Study authors disclosed ties to rEVO Biologics and Pediatrix Medical Group.