Most Low Weight Infants at 24 Weeks Gestational Age Live

But extremely low birth weight infants who survive still have high morbidity rates

TUESDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of low birth weight infants with a gestational age (GA) of 24 or more weeks survive, but this population continues to have high rates of morbidity, according to a report published online Aug. 23 in Pediatrics.

Barbara J. Stoll, M.D., of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues collected data from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network on 9,575 infants of extremely low GA (22 to 28 weeks) and very low birth weight (401 to 1,500 g) who were born between Jan. 1, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2007.

The researchers found that rates of survival to discharge increased from 6 percent at 22 weeks GA to 92 percent at 28 weeks GA. In addition, 1,060 infants died within 12 hours, with most of these deaths occurring at 22 and 23 weeks. Infants at the lowest GAs were at the highest risk for morbidities. Ninety-three percent of the infants had respiratory distress syndrome, 46 percent had patent ductus arteriosus, 16 percent suffered severe intraventricular hemorrhage, 11 percent had necrotizing enterocolitis, and 36 percent had late-onset sepsis.

"Although the majority of infants with GAs of ≥24 weeks survive, high rates of morbidity among survivors continue to be observed," the authors write.

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