Objective: To describe the early outcome of extremely low birthweight infants delivered at the University Hospital of the West Indies.
Methods: A two-year retrospective review of the charts of all live, inborn extremely low birthweight infants admitted to the neonatal unit between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2003 was conducted. Differences between survivors and non-survivors were determined using analysis of variance and predictors of outcome were determined using multiple regression models.
Results: During the study period, 47 extremely low birthweight infants were admitted to the neonatal unit. The mean ± SD birthweight and gestational age of these infants were 780 ± 137 g and 27 ± 2 weeks respectively. Twenty (43%) infants survived. Babies (19; 58%) of gestational age $ 27 weeks had in-creased survival compared to those < 27 weeks, (1; 7%; p = 0.001) and babies weighing $ 750 g had increased survival (17, 65%) compared to those weighing < 750 g, (3, 14%; p < 0.001). Infants delivered by Caesarean section had improved survival 15 (58%) over those delivered vaginally (5, 24%; p = 0.02). All six (100%) infants whose mothers did not receive prenatal steroids died while 18 (50%) infants whose mothers received prenatal steroids died (p = 0.02). Significant factors associated with outcome were offered and gender was entered into a multiple regression model; gestational age and female gender remained independent predictors of survival.
Conclusion: Obstetric measures for the prevention of preterm delivery need to be optimized in order to decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with extremely low birthweight infants.