OBJECTIVE. The objective of this study was to compare the primary and secondary outcomes of very low birth weight infants before and after participation in the Breathsavers Group of the Vermont Oxford Network–sponsored Neonatal Intensive Care Quality Collaborative.

METHODS. Hospitals that participated in the Breathsavers Group contributed clinical data on the outcomes of their very low birth weight infants to the Vermont Oxford Network using standardized clinical definitions, data forms, and inclusion criteria. Outcomes from the last year of the collaborative, 2003, were compared with those from the baseline year, 2001. Models for treatment practices and outcomes measures were adjusted for within-hospital correlation (clustering) and standard risk factors that were present at birth.

RESULTS. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia dropped significantly in 2003 compared with the baseline year. Survival improved but not significantly. In addition, severe retinopathy of prematurity, severe intraventricular hemorrhage, and supplemental oxygen at discharge dropped significantly. The use of conventional ventilation at any time during the initial hospitalization, postnatal steroids, and time to first dose of surfactant all decreased significantly. The use of nasal continuous positive airway pressure at any time during hospitalization increased. The use of high-frequency ventilation, delivery room intubation, and surfactant at any time during hospitalization did not change.

CONCLUSIONS. The Breathsavers Group improved both clinical care processes and clinical outcomes during the Neonatal Intensive Care Quality Collaborative.

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