The Turkish Journal of Pediatrics 2003 , Vol 45 , Num 4
Outcomes of very low birth weight infants in a newborn tertiary center in Turkey, 1997-2000

Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey


Our purpose was to determine mortality and morbidity rates and selected outcome variables for infants weighing less than 1500 g, who were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of our hospital from 1997 to 2000. The ultimate goal of the study was to define a model for developing a regional database.

Information on all very low birth weight (VLBW) admissions to a tertiary level neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Ankara between January 1997 and December 2000 was prospectively collected by three neonatologists using a standard manual of operation and definitions. The data consisted of patient information including sociodemographic characteristics; antenatal history; mode of delivery; APGAR scores; need for resuscitation; admission illness severity (Clinical Risk Index for Babies-CRIB) and therapeutic intensity (Neonatal Therapeutic Intensity Scoring System-NTISS); selected NICU parameters and procedures such as respiratory support, surfactant therapy, and postnatal corticosteroid therapy; and selected patient outcomes such as intraventricular hemorrhage, septicemia, necrotizing enterecolitis, retinopathy of prematurity, and chronic lung disease.

The number of VLBW admissions to the NICU was 133, with 51 (28.6%) referrals from other maternity centers. The mean birth weight and gestational age of the infants were 1175±252 g and 30.3±2.9 weeks, respectively. One hundred and seventeen of 133 cases (88.7%) received at least one antenatal care visit. The median CRIB and NTISS scores were 4.5 and 31, respectively. Antenatal steroids had been given to 74 (55.6%) infants. Surfactant treatment and respiratory support were given to 33 (24.8%) and 73 (54.8%) infants, respectively. Among selected outcomes, chronic lung disease (CLD), threshold retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), severe intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH ³ grade III), nosocomial infection and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) were encountered in 14 (12.6%), 9 (8.1%), 3 (2.2%), 34 (25.5%) and 35 (26.3%) of the infants, respectively. Overall survival rate was 83.5% (111/133); most of the deceased cases were under 750 g (12/22). It was prospectively shown that 111 (100%) of the surviving infants could be regularly followed in a newborn follow-up clinic to provide health maintenance, developmental assessment and support.

Compared with reports from other developing countries, VLBW infants at our center had higher survival rates. Compared to developed countries, survival rate was lower, especially for extremely very low birth weight infants. There is interaction between birth weight and survival rate. Among selected neonatal outcomes, chronic lung disease, threshold retinopathy, severe intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH ³ grade III) and nosocomial infection rates at this center were comparable with some reports from developed nations. Keywords : very low birth weight morbidity mortality prematurity neonatal intensive care unit outcomes

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