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Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2001 Aug;41(3):269-73.

The management of extremely premature infants and the perceptions of viability and parental counselling practices of Australian obstetricians.

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Centre for Women's Health Research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.


The attitudes of Australian obstetricians to the resuscitation of extremely premature infants are reported. A structured questionnaire including questions regarding antenatal parent counselling, resuscitation practices, survival rates and personal attitudes about life support was distributed to obstetricians working in Australian hospitals with a Level 3 nursery Eighty-nine (48% response rate) replies were received from 12 units located in seven major cities. Obstetricians are more likely to discuss resuscitation with prospective parents with increasing gestation with a major shift occurring at 23-24 weeks' gestation. They strive for consensus with parents regarding resuscitation options and they act upon the opinion of both the prospective parents and their paediatric colleagues. Threat of litigation rarely influences the decision to limit resuscitation of an extremely preterm infant. Obstetricians may underestimate the prognosis for extremely preterm infants. The data presented offer useful insights into current attitudes and practice of tertiary hospital obstetricians.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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