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Semin Perinatol. 2013 Dec;37(6):389-400. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2013.06.021.

Survival of pre-viable preterm infants in the United States: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Maternal & Child Health Comparative Effectiveness Research Group, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, 13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, MDC 56, Tampa, FL 33612; Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. Electronic address:


The objective of this paper is to review observational studies that addressed the survival of pre-viable gestations in the United States. We searched PubMed, Ovid, CINAHL, and Web of Knowledge for studies reporting survival of infants born at <24 gestational weeks and/or <500g in the United States and published between January 2003 and January 2013. The full texts of 70 articles were examined and a total of 15 studies qualified and were selected. We analyzed fixed-effect and random-effects models for eight studies on survival to discharge. Pooled survival to discharge in the random-effects model was 45.9% (95% CI: 41.1-51.7) and 39.7% in the fixed-effect model (95% CI: 38.8-40.7). Studies differed by pre-viable survival measures and epochs (1985-2009). Protective factors included antenatal corticosteroids, neonatal resuscitation, and intensive care. The current survival threshold for pre-viable infants warrants reconsideration of the limits of viability. Protective factors that enhance survival should be considered in the management of these infants.


Extremely low birth weight; Extremely preterm birth; Periviable; Pre-viable; Pregnancy; Survival

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