OBJECTIVE: In the Netherlands, the threshold for offering active treatment for spontaneous birth was lowered from 25+0 to 24+0 weeks' gestation in 2010. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of guideline implementation on survival and causes and timing of death in the years following implementation.
DESIGN: National cohort study, using data from the Netherlands Perinatal Registry.
PATIENTS: The study population included all 3312 stillborn and live born infants with a gestational age (GA) between 240/7 and 266/7 weeks born between January 2011 and December 2017. Infants with the same GA born between January 2007 and December 2009 (N=1400) were used as the reference group.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Survival to discharge, as well as cause and timing of death.
RESULTS: After guideline implementation, there was a significant increase in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission rate for live born infants born at 24 weeks' GA (27%-69%, p<0.001), resulting in increased survival to discharge in 24-week live born infants (13%-34%, p<0.001). Top three causes of in-hospital mortality were necrotising enterocolitis (28%), respiratory distress syndrome (19%) and intraventricular haemorrhage (17%). A significant decrease in cause of death either complicated or caused by respiratory insufficiency was seen over time (34% in 2011-2014 to 23% in 2015-2017, p=0.006).
CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of the 2010 guideline resulted as expected in increased NICU admissions rate and postnatal survival of infants born at 24 weeks' GA. In the years after implementation, a shift in cause of death was seen from respiratory insufficiency towards necrotising enterocolitis and sepsis.
|Journal||Archives of Disease in Childhood-Fetal and Neonatal Edition|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 6 Nov 2020|