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Pediatrics. 2011 Mar;127(3):487-93. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-1064. Epub 2011 Feb 14.

Increasing VLBW deliveries at subspecialty perinatal centers via perinatal outreach.

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  • 1Division of Neonatology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.



To test the hypothesis that the promotion of national guidelines recommending the transfer of high-risk mothers to subspecialty perinatal centers reduces mortality and morbidity through the reduction of preterm infants delivered at nontertiary maternity hospitals.


After implementation of hospital-based educational and communication programs emphasizing the importance of maternal transfer to subspecialty perinatal centers, we conducted a population-based cohort study of all live births delivered at maternity hospitals in greater Cincinnati from 2003 through 2007 (n = 1825). Birth weights measured between 500 and 1499 g and gestational ages were less than 32 weeks. Risk-adjusted outcomes were measured by multivariate logistic regression in 2 stages. We compared these findings with those from a similar study conducted at our institution that included infants with birth weights less than 1500 g born between September 1, 1995, and December 31, 1997 (n = 848). The primary outcome was the percentage decrease in infants born with very low birth weights at nontertiary centers compared with our previous study.


The number of infants born with birth weights less than 1500 g and at less than 32 weeks' gestation delivered at hospitals without tertiary perinatal and neonatal care decreased from 25% to 11.8% between the 2 study periods. The odds of death or major morbidity for infants born with very low birth weights at nontertiary perinatal centers is 3 times that of infants born at subspecialty perinatal centers after controlling for demographic variations (odds ratio: 3.05 [95% confidence interval: 2.1-4.4]).


Local promotion of national guidelines by neonatologists coincided with a significant reduction in the percentage of infants born with birth weights less than 1500 g and at less than 32 weeks' gestation who were not delivered at subspecialty perinatal centers, and, at 88.2%, this nearly achieves the Healthy People 2010 objective to deliver 90% of infants born with very low birth weights in subspecialty perinatal centers.

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