Background: Maternal transport, rather than neonatal transport, to tertiary care centers is generally advocated. Since a substantial number of premature deliveries still occur in hospitals with level I and level II nurseries, it is imperative to find means to improve their outcome.
Objectives: To compare the neonatal outcome (survival, intraventricular hemorrhage and bronchopulmonary dysplasia) of inborn and outborn very low birth weight infants, accounting for sociodemographic, obstetric and perinatal variables, with reference to earlier published data.
Methods: We compared 129 premature infants with birth weights of 750–1250 g delivered between 1996 and 2000 in a hospital providing neonatal intensive care to 99 premature babies delivered in a referring hospital. In the statistical analysis, variables with a statistical significant association with the outcome variables and dissimilar distribution in the two hospitals were identified and entered together with the hospital of birth as explanatory variables in a logistic regression.
Results: Accounting for the covariates, the odds ratios (outborns relative to inborns) were 0.31 (95% confidence interval = 0.11–0.86, P = 0.03) for mortality, 1.37 (95%CI = 0.64–2.96, P = 0.42) for severe intraventricular hemorrhage, and 0.86 (95%CI = 0.38–1.97, P = 0.78) for bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The odds ratio for survival without severe intraventricular hemorrhage was 1.10 (95%CI = 0.55–2.20, P = 0.78). Comparing the current results with earlier (1990–94) published data from the same institution showed that mortality decreased in both the outborn and inborn infants (OR = 0.23, 95%CI = 0.09–0.58, P = 0.002 and 0.46; 95%CI = 0.20–1.04, P = 0.06, respectively), but no significant change in the incidence of severe intraventricular hemorrhage or brochopulmonary dysplasia was observed. Increased survival was observed also in these infants receiving surfactant, more so among the outborn. The latter finding could be attributed to the early, pre-transport surfactant administration, implemented only during the current study.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that very low birth weight outborn infants may share an outcome comparable with that of inborn babies, if adequate perinatal care including surfactant administration is provided prior to transportation to a tertiary center.