Our objective with this quality improvement initiative was to reduce rates of severe intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) or death in the first week after birth among extremely preterm infants.
The quality improvement initiative was conducted from April 2014 to September 2020 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s NICU. All actively treated inborn extremely preterm infants without congenital anomalies from 22 + 0/7 to 27 + 6/7 weeks’ gestation with a birth weight ≥400 g were included. The primary outcome was severe ICH or death in the first 7 days after birth. Balancing measures included rates of acute kidney injury and spontaneous intestinal perforation. Outcome and process measure data were analyzed by using p-charts.
We studied 820 infants with a mean gestational age of 25 + 3/7 weeks and median birth weight of 744 g. The rate of severe ICH or death in the first week after birth decreased from the baseline rate of 27.4% to 15.0%. The rate of severe ICH decreased from a baseline rate of 16.4% to 10.0%. Special cause variation in the rate of severe ICH or death in the first week after birth was observed corresponding with improvement in carbon dioxide and pH targeting, compliance with delayed cord clamping, and expanded use of indomethacin prophylaxis.
Implementation of a bundle of evidence-based potentially better practices by using specific electronic order sets was associated with a lower rate of severe ICH or death in the first week among extremely preterm infants.