To identify among extremely low birth weight (≤ 1000 grams) live births, the percent of infants who are unimpaired at 18–22 months corrected age.
Unimpaired outcome was defined as both Bayley-II MDI and PDI Scores ≥ 85, a normal neurological exam, normal vision, normal hearing and normal swallowing and ambulating. Outcomes at 18–22 months were determined for 5250 (86%) of 6090 ELBW inborn infants. Group comparisons were made and regression models were developed to identify factors associated with unimpaired outcome.
Of the 5250 infants whose outcome was known at 18 months, 850 (16%) were unimpaired, 1153 (22%) had mild impairments, 1147 (22%) had moderate to severe neurodevelopmental impairments and 2100 (40%) had died. Unimpaired survival rates varied by birth weight from <1% for infants ≤ 500 grams to 24% for infants 901–1000 grams for all live births. The regression model to predict unimpaired survival versus death or impairment for live births ( n=5250) identified that 25.3% of the variance was derived from infant factors present at birth including female gender, higher birth weight, singleton, and small for gestation, and less than 2% was explained either by maternal demographic factors or selected obstetric interventions. For the 3232 infants discharged from the NICU, the unimpaired survival rate was 26%. The regression model to predict unimpaired survival for discharged infants identified that most of the variance was derived from combined effects of major neonatal morbidities, neonatal interventions, and maternal demographics (15.7%) and only 8.5% was derived from infant factors present at birth.
Although <1% of ELBW live births ≤ 500 grams survive free of impairment at 18 months this increases to almost 24% for infants 901–1000 grams. Female gender, singleton, higher birth weight, absence of neonatal morbidities, private health insurance and White race increase the likelihood of unimpaired status.