Population-based study shows that resuscitating apparently stillborn extremely preterm babies is associated with poor outcomes
Aim: This population-based study determined the delivery room management and outcomes of extremely preterm infants born with Apgar scores of 0.
Methods: We linked birth, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and death records for babies who were born between 22 + 0 and 27 + 6 weeks of gestation with a one-minute Apgar score of 0, in New South Wales, Australia, between 1998 and 2011.
Results: We classified 2173/2262 (96%) of infants with a one-minute Apgar score of 0 as stillborn. Resuscitation was provided for 48/89 (54%) live births and 40/2173 (2%) stillbirths. Cardiac massage was given to 44 infants, including three 22-week stillborn babies. Of the 13 live births admitted to an NICU, 11 survived to hospital discharge. Most (98%) of the 2212 deaths occurred on the first day of life. One baby who was classified as stillborn lived for 51 days. Resuscitation increased the mean (95% confidence interval) duration of survival from 1 (0-2) to 45 (0-104) hours (p < 0.001). No infant with a five minute Apgar score of 0 survived.
Conclusion: Clinicians resuscitated extremely preterm infants without a detectable heartbeat, even at 22 weeks of gestation. No infant survived without resuscitation or if their heartbeat was not regained by five minutes.
Haines, M., Wright, I. M., Bajuk, B., Abdel-Latif, M. E., Hilder, L., Challis, D., Guaran, R. & Oei, J. (2016). Population-based study shows that resuscitating apparently stillborn extremely preterm babies is associated with poor outcomes. Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health, 105 (11), 1305-1311.