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Health Econ. 2017 Mar;26(3):352-370. doi: 10.1002/hec.3314. Epub 2016 Feb 4.

Saving Newborn Babies - The Benefits of Interventions in Neonatal Care in Norway over More Than 40 Years.

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Department of Community Dentistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway.
Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, Oslo, Norway.
BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Pediatric Research, Rikshospitalet University Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


The aim of this study was to examine the effect that the introduction of new medical interventions at birth has had on mortality among newborn babies in Norway during the period 1967-2011. During this period, there has been a significant decline in mortality, in particular for low birth weight infants. We identified four interventions that together explained about 50% of the decline in early neonatal and infant mortality: ventilators, antenatal steroids, surfactant and insure. The analyses were performed on a large set of data, encompassing more than 1.6 million deliveries (Medical Birth Registry of Norway). The richness of the data allowed us to perform several robustness tests. Our study indicates that the introduction of new medical interventions has been a very important channel through which the decline in mortality among newborn babies occurred during the second half of the last century.


antenatal steroids; births; infant mortality and neonatal mortality; medical interventions; surfactant; ventilators

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