Black Infants with Low Birth Weight More Likely to Survive

Girls, black infants with extremely low birth weight have better outcome than boys, whites

THURSDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Gender and ethnicity affect the survival of extremely low birth weight infants, with girls more likely to survive than boys and black infants more likely to survive than whites, according to a study published in the January issue of Pediatrics.

Steven B. Morse, M.D., of the College of Medicine, University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues examined birth and death certificates for 5,076 infants with birth weights of 300-1000 grams who were born in Florida between 1996 and 2000.

The researchers found survival rates of 14% for infants weighing less than 500 grams, 36% for those weighing 501-600 grams, 62% for those weighing 601-700 grams and 85% or more for those weighing more than 800 grams. They found survival advantages for female versus male infants (odds ratio 1.7) and black versus white infants (OR 1.3), with black female infants more than twice as likely to survive as white male infants.

"Obstetricians will continue to face difficult decisions regarding the care of mothers in preterm labor at very early gestational ages, and neonatologists will continue to struggle with decisions regarding the initiation and withdrawal of care for extremely premature infants," the authors conclude. "The data presented here are intended to assist both groups not only in management but also in frank discussions with families."

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