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Ann Epidemiol. 2006 Aug;16(8):600-6. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Preterm delivery and age of SIDS death.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA.



The aim of the study is to (i) reexamine risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and (ii) describe the relationship between length of gestation and age at death from SIDS.


To evaluate risk factors for SIDS, we used multivariable logistic regression and included maternal demographic characteristics, maternal health and behavioral factors, and infant characteristics, including fetal growth, using US national linked birth and death files from 1996 to 1998. We used multivariable linear regression with mean postnatal age of death as the outcome of interest, controlling for the factors listed (referent length of gestation, 40 to 41 weeks).


The crude SIDS rate was 0.7 deaths/1000 live births (8199 deaths). Length of gestation was a strong risk factor for SIDS, with the adjusted odds ratio (OR) greatest at shorter gestations: 28 to 32 weeks (OR, 2.9; 95% confidence interval, 2.6-3.2). Infants with gestations of 22 to 27 and 28 to 32 weeks died at mean ages of 20.9 (SD = 0.8) and 15.3 (SD = 0.5) weeks, respectively (p < or = 0.002). Term infants (40 to 41 weeks) died of SIDS at an adjusted mean age of 14.5 (SD = 0.4) weeks.


Preterm birth continues to be a strong risk factor for SIDS after controlling for fetal growth. With increasing gestational age, mean age of SIDS death decreases considerably, with the postnatal age of death of very preterm infants 6 weeks later than that of term infants.

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