OBJECTIVE: To explore international variations in the management and survival of extremely low gestational age and birthweight births. DESIGN: Area-based prospective cohort of births SETTING: 12 regions across Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and the UK PARTICIPANTS: 1449 live births and fetal deaths between 22+0 and 25+6 weeks gestation born in 2011-2012. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Percentage of births; recorded live born; provided antenatal steroids or respiratory support; surviving to discharge (with/without severe morbidities). RESULTS: The percentage of births recorded as live born was consistently low at 22 weeks and consistently high at 25 weeks but varied internationally at 23 weeks for those weighing 500 g and over (range 33%-70%) and at 24 weeks for those under 500 g (range 5%-71%). Antenatal steroids and provision of respiratory support at 22-24 weeks gestation varied between countries, but were consistently high for babies born at 25 weeks. Survival to discharge was universally poor at 22 weeks gestation (0%) and at any gestation with birth weight <500 g, irrespective of treatment provision. In contrast, births at 23 and 24 weeks weighing 500 g and over showed significant international variation in survival (23 weeks: range: 0%-25%; 24 weeks range: 21%-50%), reflecting levels of treatment provision. CONCLUSIONS: Wide international variation exists in the management and survival of extremely preterm births at 22-24 weeks gestation. Universally poor outcomes for babies at 22 weeks and for those weighing under 500 g suggest little impact of intervention and support the inclusion of birth weight along with gestational age in ethical decision-making guidelines.
Variability in the management and outcomes of extremely preterm births across five European countries: A population-based cohort study / Smith, Lucy K.; Blondel, Beatrice; Van Reempts, Patrick; Draper, Elizabeth S.; Manktelow, Bradley N.; Barros, Henrique; Cuttini, Marina; Zeitlin, Jennifer; Carnielli, Virgilio. - In: ARCHIVES OF DISEASE IN CHILDHOOD. FETAL AND NEONATAL EDITION. - ISSN 1359-2998. - STAMPA. - 102:5(2017), pp. F400-F408. [10.1136/archdischild-2016-312100]