To examine the risk of mortality and major morbidities in extremely preterm multiple gestation infants compared with singletons over time.


This is a retrospective study of 15 402 infants born ≤27 weeks’ gestation, admitted to NICUs in the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network from 1995 to 2009. Mortality and major morbidities were compared between singletons and multiples across three 5-year epochs.


Extreme preterm multiples were more likely to have lower birth weight; higher maternal age; and higher rates of assisted conception, antenatal steroid use, and cesarean delivery compared with singletons. The mortality rate was significantly higher in multiples compared with singletons even as there was a trend of decreasing gestational-age stratified mortality in multiples over the time period investigated. The rates of major morbidities or composite adverse outcomes were not different between multiples and singletons across all epochs. The adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for mortality in multiples was significantly higher in multiples compared with singletons (AOR 1.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08–1.34). There were no differences in the adjusted odds for poor outcomes in multiples compared with singletons in the most recent epoch: mortality (AOR 1.00, 95% CI 0.84–1.19), major morbidity (0.95, 95% CI 0.81–1.10), and composite adverse outcome (0.96, 95% CI 0.83–1.11).


Over the 15-year period, the odds for mortality in extremely preterm NICU infants of multiple gestation was significantly higher compared with singletons. The adjusted odds of poor outcomes in multiples were not significantly different from that of singletons in the most recent epoch.

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