From 1961 to 1976, 229 infants with birth weights ranging from 751 to 1,000 gm were admitted to the Stanford University Hospital Intensive Care Nursery. The overall neonatal mortality for these infants was 63% (144/229), and there were ten late deaths. Before 1967, no infant in this group who required mechanical ventilation survived; therafter, 30% (34/114) of the ventilated patients survived. Of the 75 long-term survivors 60 participated in a high-risk infant follow-up program; these included 23 infants who had received mechanical ventilation. The mean birth weight of these infants was 928 ± 67 (SD) gm. Seventeen children (28%) had significant morbidity: seven (12%) with severe handicaps and ten (17%) with moderate handicaps. During this same period, seven infants weighing less than 750 gm at birth were also observed. The three infants who had not required ventilatory support thrived; the other four infants had required respirators and were significantly handicapped. More recently, neonatal mortality for infants with birth weights from 751 to 1,000 gm has improved: for 1977 to 1980, it was 28% (33/118). Furthermore, neonatal mortality for ventilated infants in this weight group was 27% (26/95). These data indicate an improved prognosis for very low-birth-weight infants, even with ventilatory support.

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