BACKGROUND: Very low birth weight infants often gain weight poorly and demonstrate growth failure during the initial hospitalization. Although many of the major morbidities experienced by these infants during their initial NICU stays have decreased in recent years, it is unclear whether growth has improved. METHODS: We studied 362 833 infants weighing 501 to 1500 g without major birth defects born from 2000 to 2013 and who were hospitalized for 15 to 175 days at 736 North American hospitals in the Vermont Oxford Network. Average growth velocity (GV; g/kg per day) was computed by using a 2-point exponential model on the basis of birth weight and discharge weight. Postnatal growth failure and severe postnatal growth failure were defined as a discharge weight less than the 10th and third percentiles for postmenstrual age, respectively. RESULTS: From 2000 to 2013, average GV increased from 11.8 to 12.9 g/kg per day. Postnatal growth failure decreased from 64.5% to 50.3% and severe postnatal growth failure from 39.8% to 27.5%. The interquartile ranges for the hospitals participating in 2013 were as follows: GV, 12.3 to 13.4 g/kg per day; postnatal growth failure, 41.1% to 61.7%; and severe postnatal growth failure, 19.4% to 36.0%. Adjusted and unadjusted estimates were nearly identical. CONCLUSIONS: For infants weighing 501 to 1500 g at birth, average GV increased and the percentage with postnatal growth failure decreased. However, in 2013, half of these infants still demonstrated postnatal growth failure and one-quarter demonstrated severe postnatal growth failure.
OBJECTIVE: To identify changes in clinical practices for infants with birth weights of 501 to 1500 g born from 2000 to 2009. METHODS: We used prospectively collected registry data for 355 806 infants born from 2000 to 2009 and cared for at 669 North American hospitals in the Vermont Oxford Network. Main outcome measures included obstetric and neonatal practices, including cesarean delivery, antenatal steroids, delivery room interventions, respiratory practices, neuroimaging, retinal exams, and feeding at discharge. RESULTS: Significant changes in many obstetric, delivery room, and neonatal practices occurred from 2000 to 2009. Use of surfactant treatment in the delivery room increased overall (adjusted difference [AD] 17.0%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 16.4% to 17.6%), as did less-invasive methods of respiratory support, such as nasal continuous positive airway pressure (AD 9.9%; 95% CI 9.1% to 10.6%). Use of any ventilation (AD –7.5%; 95% CI –8.0% to –6.9%) and steroids for chronic lung disease (AD –15.3%; 95% CI –15.8% to –14.8%) decreased significantly overall. Most of the changes in respiratory care were observed within each of 4 birth weight strata (501–750 g, 751–1000 g, 1001–1250 g, 1251–1500 g). CONCLUSIONS: Many obstetric and neonatal care practices used in the management of infants 501 to 1500 g changed between 2000 and 2009. In particular, less-invasive approaches to respiratory support increased.
OBJECTIVE: To identify changes in mortality and neonatal morbidities for infants with birth weight 501 to 1500 g born from 2000 to 2009. METHODS: There were 355 806 infants weighing 501 to 1500 g who were born in 2000–2009. Mortality during initial hospitalization and major neonatal morbidity in survivors (early and late infection, chronic lung disease, necrotizing enterocolitis, severe retinopathy of prematurity, severe intraventricular hemorrhage, and periventricular leukomalacia) were assessed by using data from 669 North American hospitals in the Vermont Oxford Network. RESULTS: From 2000 to 2009, mortality for infants weighing 501 to 1500 g decreased from 14.3% to 12.4% (difference, −1.9%; 95% confidence interval, −2.3% to −1.5%). Major morbidity in survivors decreased from 46.4% to 41.4% (difference, −4.9%; 95% confidence interval, −5.6% to −4.2%). In 2009, mortality ranged from 36.6% for infants 501 to 750 g to 3.5% for infants 1251 to 1500 g, whereas major morbidity in survivors ranged from 82.7% to 18.7%. In 2009, 49.2% of all very low birth weight infants and 89.2% of infants 501 to 750 g either died or survived with a major neonatal morbidity. CONCLUSIONS: Mortality and major neonatal morbidity in survivors decreased for infants with birth weight 501 to 1500 g between 2000 and 2009. However, at the end of the decade, a high proportion of these infants still either died or survived after experiencing ≥1 major neonatal morbidity known to be associated with both short- and long-term adverse consequences.