User:Crtew/Doctors report decline in deaths of U.S. extreme premature infants

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A new study shows more premature babies are surviving in the U.S. system.
Image: Brian Hall.

The United States has started to show strong improvements in premature infant survival rates. Premature infants born in weeks 22-to-28 of gestation are surviving at an increasingly fast rate. From the early 2000's to 2011, deaths among infants from breathing complications, underdevelopment, infections, nervous system problems, pulmonary causes, and immaturity all declined significantly. Unfortunately, deaths from the deterioration of intestinal tissue, known as 'necrotizing enterocolitis', started to increase. Researchers are still finding that one out of every four severely premature infants born in the U.S. ultimately die before leaving the hospital.

Dr. Ravi Mangal Patel, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and Dr. Edward McCabe, medical director of the March of Dimes, conducted a research project studying 6,000 plus premature infants. For the study, Patel's team analyzed data from more than 6,000 deaths among more than 22,000 live births with gestational ages of 22 to 28 weeks. The births occurred between 2000 and 2011. Patel added that "infants who survive often suffer from long-term mental development problems".

The babies were followed from birth for 4 months, or until they died, left the hospital or were transferred to another hospital. Infants hospitalized for more than 120 days were evaluated until they died or until they turned 1 year, according to the study. During this study , the death rate for extremely premature infants dropped by nearly 10 percent. By 2008 to 2011, the death rate was about 26 percent. Roughly, 40 percent of the deaths happened within 12 hours after birth, while another 17 percent happened after 28 days. The largest declines in deaths were in those born at 23 or 24 weeks of gestation.


Category:North America Category:United States Category:Disease Category:Georgia (U.S. state) Category:Science and technology Category:Health