Objective: A network of neonatal intensive care units in Pacific Rim countries was formed to compare infant risk factors, clinical practices, and outcomes for very low birthweight infants. Methodology: A multicentre, prospective study compared outcomes for infants born smaller than 1501 g or at less than 31 weeks gestation. Results: Gestational age-specific survival and incidence of intracranial haemorrhage varied for infants born in these nurseries. We found differences in infant risk factors among the nurseries. There were also significant differences in the use of antenatal steroids, but similar rates for Caesarean section and surfactant treatment. The factor most predictive of neonatal death and severe intracranial abnormality was an elevated Clinical Risk Index for Babies (CRIB) score. Antenatal steroid treatment (>24 h prior to delivery) was associated with improved survival and decreased incidence of severe intracranial abnormalities. Antenatal steroid treatment for less than 24 h prior to delivery was not associated with improved survival. Caesarean delivery was associated with improved survival, but showed no benefit regarding the incidence of severe intracranial abnormality. Conclusions: Our Pacific Rim nursery network found differences in neonatal outcomes that correlated best with measures of neonatal risk at birth, antenatal steroid treatment, and Caesarean delivery. These data emphasize the importance of obstetric care to improve postnatal outcomes in premature infants, and highlight the usefulness of CRIB scores in these patients.
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