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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1998 May;178(5):909-15.

The impact of fetal compromise on outcome at the border of viability.

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Department of Pediatrics, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan 48073-6769, USA.



Our goal was to evaluate the impact of fetal compromise on the outcome of borderline viable babies.


All 142 babies born in our hospital from 1990 to 1995 with a gestational age of 23 to 25 weeks were included. Fetal compromise was considered present if one of the following was documented: a major anomaly, congenital sepsis, chronic intrauterine infection, intrauterine drug exposure, congenital anemia, severe growth restriction, fetal acidosis, or cardiorespiratory and neurologic depression in the delivery room.


The 43 babies who had at least one cause of fetal compromise had a lower birth weight (p < 0.001), but there were no other differences in demographics or complications of prematurity. The survival rate was significantly better for babies free of fetal compromise (75% vs 33%, p < 0.001), particularly for babies born at 23 weeks of gestation (75% vs 6%, p < 0.001). For surviving babies free of fetal compromise, the outcome at 23 weeks was comparable to that at 24 to 25 weeks for major causes of long-term neurologic morbidity.


Like advancing gestational age and increasing birth weight, the absence of fetal compromise has a major beneficial impact on the outcome of borderline viable babies that might be important when decisions are made about the appropriate level of support.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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