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Rates of Very Preterm Birth in Europe and Neonatal Mortality Rates
  1. David John Field (david.field{at}
  1. University of Leicester, United Kingdom
    1. Elizabeth S Draper (msn{at}
    1. University of Leicester, United Kingdom
      1. Alan Fenton (a.c.fenton{at}
      1. Royal Victoria Infirmary Newcastle, United Kingdom
        1. Emile Papiernik (emile.papiernik{at}
        1. Université Paris V Réné Descartes et Maternité de Port-Royal, Assistance-Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, France
          1. J Zeitlin (zeitlin{at}
          1. INSERM U149, France
            1. Beatrice Blondel (blondel{at}
            1. INSERM U149, France
              1. Marina Cuttini (cuttini{at}
              1. Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, Italy
                1. Rolf Maier (rolf.maier{at}
                1. Dept of Neonatology, University Hospital, Marburg, Germany
                  1. Tom Weber ({at}
                  1. Departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, Hvidovre University Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
                    1. Manuel Carrapato (rcarrapato{at}
                    1. Dept of Paediatrics, Hopsital Sao Sebastio Sta Maria de Feira, Portugal
                      1. Louis A Kollee (l.kollee{at}
                      1. University Medical Centre Nijmegen, Netherlands
                        1. Janusz Gadzinowski (jgadzin{at}
                        1. Dept of Neonatology, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
                          1. Patrick Van Reempts (patrick.van.reempts{at}
                          1. Dept of Neonatology, University & University Hospital, Antwerpen and Study Centre for Perinatal Epid, Belgium


                            Objective: To estimate the influence of variation in the rate of very preterm delivery on the reported rate of neonatal death in ten European regions.

                            Design: Comparison of 10 separate geographically defined European populations, from nine European countries, over a one year period (seven months in one region).

                            Participants: All births that occurred between 22+0 and 31+6 weeks of gestation in 2003.

                            Main outcome measure: Neonatal death rate adjusted for rate of delivery at this gestation.

                            Results: Rate of delivery of all births at 22+0-31+6 weeks of gestation and live births only were calculated for each region. Two regions had significantly higher rates of very preterm delivery per 1000 births (Trent UK (16.8, 95% CI 15.7-17.9) and the Northern UK (17.1, 95% CI 15.6-18.6); group mean 13.2, 95% CI 12.9 to 13.5). Four regions had rates significantly below the group average: Portugal North (10.7, 95% CI 9.6 to 11.8), Eastern and Central Netherlands (10.6, 95% CI 9.7 to 11.6), Eastern Denmark (11.2, 95% CI 10.1 to 12.4) and Lazio in Italy (11.0, 95% CI 10.1 to 11.9). Similar trends were seen in live birth data. Published rates of neonatal death for each region were then adjusted by applying: a) a standardised rate of very preterm delivery and b) the existing death rate for babies born at this gestation in the individual region. This produced much greater homogeneity in terms of neonatal mortality.

                            Conclusions: Variation in the rate of very preterm delivery has a major influence on reported neonatal death rates.

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