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Prediction of survival without morbidity for infants born at under 33 weeks gestational age: a user-friendly graphical tool


Objective To develop models and a graphical tool for predicting survival to discharge without major morbidity for infants with a gestational age (GA) at birth of 22–32 weeks using infant information at birth.

Design Retrospective cohort study.

Setting Canadian Neonatal Network data for 2003–2008 were utilised.

Patients Neonates born between 22 and 32 weeks gestation admitted to neonatal intensive care units in Canada.

Main outcome measure Survival to discharge without major morbidity defined as survival without severe neurological injury (intraventricular haemorrhage grade 3 or 4 or periventricular leukomalacia), severe retinopathy (stage 3 or higher), necrotising enterocolitis (stage 2 or 3) or chronic lung disease.

Results Of the 17 148 neonates who met the eligibility criteria, 65% survived without major morbidity. Sex and GA at birth were significant predictors. Birth weight (BW) had a significant but non-linear effect on survival without major morbidity. Although maternal information characteristics such as steroid use, improved the prediction of survival without major morbidity, sex, GA at birth and BW for GA predicted survival without major morbidity almost as accurately (area under the curve: 0.84). The graphical tool based on the models showed how the GA and BW for GA interact, to enable prediction of outcomes especially for small and large for GA infants.

Conclusion This graphical tool provides an improved and easily interpretable method to predict survival without major morbidity for very preterm infants at the time of birth. These curves are especially useful for small and large for GA infants.

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