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Outcomes of outborn very-low-birth-weight infants in Japan
  1. Katsuya Hirata1,
  2. Takeshi Kimura1,
  3. Shinya Hirano1,
  4. Kazuko Wada1,
  5. Satoshi Kusuda2,
  6. Masanori Fujimura1
  7. on behalf of the Neonatal Research Network of Japan
  1. 1 Neonatal Medicine, Osaka Women's and Children's Hospital, Izumi, Osaka, Japan
  2. 2 Pediatrics, Kyorin University, Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Katsuya Hirata, Neonatal Medicine, Osaka Women's and Children's Hospital, Osaka 594-1101, Japan; khirata0513{at}


Background Outcomes of prenatal covariate-adjusted outborn very-low-birth-weight infants (VLBWIs) (≤1500 g) remain uncertain.

Objective To compare morbidity and mortality between outborn and inborn VLBWIs.

Design Observational cohort study using inverse-probability-of-treatment weighting.

Setting Neonatal Research Network of Japan.

Patients Singleton VLBWIs with no major anomalies admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit from 2012 to 2016.

Methods Inverse-probability-of-treatment weighting with propensity scores was used to reduce imbalances in prenatal covariates (gestational age (GA), birth weight, small for GA, sex, maternal age, premature rupture of membranes, chorioamnionitis, preeclampsia, maternal diabetes mellitus, antenatal steroids and caesarean section). The primary outcome was severe intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH). The secondary outcomes were outcomes at resuscitation, other neonatal morbidities and mortality.

Results The full cohort comprised 15 842 VLBWIs (668 outborns). The median (IQR) GA and birth weight were 28.9 (26.4–31.0) weeks and 1128 (862–1351) g for outborns and 28.7 (26.3–30.9) weeks and 1042 (758–1295) g for inborns. Outborn VLBWIs had a higher incidence of severe IVH (8.2% vs 4.1%; OR, 3.45; 95% CI 1.16 to 10.3) and pulmonary haemorrhage (3.7% vs 2.8%; OR, 5.21; 95% CI 1.41 to 19.2). There were no significant differences in Apgar scores, oxygen rates at delivery, intubation ratio at delivery, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, IVH of any grade, periventricular leukomalacia, chronic lung disease, oxygen at discharge, patent ductus arteriosus, retinopathy of prematurity, necrotising enterocolitis, sepsis or mortality.

Conclusion Outborn delivery of VLBWIs was associated with an increased risk of severe IVH.

  • intensive care
  • neonatology
  • neurodisability
  • resuscitation
  • epidemiology

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  • Collaborators Neonatal Research Network of Japan.

  • Contributors KH conceptualised and designed the study and drafted the manuscript. TK contributed to the data analysis. SH, KW, SK and MF reviewed the study results and gave conceptual suggestions. All authors reviewed the draft manuscript and approved the final manuscript for publication.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.

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