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Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Dec 15;152(12):1107-16.

Mortality of twins and singletons by gestational age: a varying-coefficient approach.

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Clinical Trials Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, China.


This study used data from the Swedish Medical Birth Registry between 1982 and 1995 to address the question of whether there is higher mortality in twins in relation to singletons of the same gestational age and to examine the optimal gestational age range for twins. A "varying-coefficient approach" was adopted to estimate the gestational age-specific relative and absolute risks of mortality in twins and singletons, adjusting for size at birth and risk factors of short gestational duration. The models showed that twins born between 29 and 37 weeks of gestation had lower mortality than did singletons of the same gestational age. Twins born at older gestational age had higher mortality than did their singleton counterparts, because longer gestational duration was more advantageous to singletons than to twins. Without adjustment for size at birth, there was an upturn of mortality in twins born after 38 weeks. It is postulated that twins have better health than singletons initially, but they could not enjoy the benefit of a longer gestational duration as much as singletons could. The optimal gestational age for twins appeared to be 37-39 weeks according to neonatal and infant mortality.

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