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J Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Jul;48(7):596-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2012.02425.x. Epub 2012 Mar 12.

Improvement in mortality of very low birthweight infants and the changing pattern of neonatal mortality: the 50-year experience of one perinatal centre.

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National Women's Health, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.



Neonatology is a relatively new sub-specialty so we aimed to review survival data in the context of advances in neonatal care.


Review of neonatal survival for very low birthweight babies over the last 50 years.


In the data collected from a single tertiary neonatal unit, survival for babies 501-1000 g improved from below 10% in 1959 to over 60% in 2009. Similarly, survival for babies 1001 to 1500 g has improved from approximately 50% to over 90%. During the study period, death due to extreme prematurity or cardiorespiratory problems, namely respiratory distress syndrome, fell from 90% in 1964 to only 45% of neonatal deaths in 2008.


In addition to reporting the remarkable improvement in neonatal survival over this period, we have highlighted items of historical context.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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