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J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 2004 Feb;33(1 Suppl):S84-7.

[Extremely preterm infants: resuscitation criteria in the delivery room and dialogue with parents before birth].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service de Médecine Néonatale de Port-Royal et Maternité Port-Royal Baudelocque, CHU Cochin-Port-Royal, 75679 Paris.


The resuscitation of extremely preterm infants presents complex medical, social and ethical issues for the families and the health professionals. The principle of a systematic resuscitation "temporary intensive care" does not prohibit the question of a limit in terms of gestational age and birth weight. In France, a do not resuscitate order (comfort care alone) is appropriate for newborns weighing less than 500g and/or with a gestational age of less than 24 weeks' since the mortality is nearly 100%. The survival of infants born at 24 weeks' gestational age remains low with significant risks of chronic medical problems and neurodevelopmental disabilities. The decisions regarding the extent of resuscitative efforts depend on antenatal factors, condition of the neonate at birth and the parental opinion. Before the delivery, parents should receive appropriate information about survival and risks of adverse long-term outcome. The physician should follow the parents' desires whenever the parents' decision would not obviously violate the infants' best interests. However, they must be informed that decisions about neonatal management made before the delivery can have to be changed in the delivery room, depending on the condition of the neonate at birth. At 25 weeks of gestational age, the prognosis is better and the resuscitation should be more intensive.

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