[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A proactive policy of resuscitation at birth and prompt initiation of intensive care have been shown to be associated with an improvement in the survival of very preterm infants in both institution-based and population-based studies. As a greater percentage of live births were offered intensive care, the survival rate rose progressively in all birth weight and gestation subgroups among extremely low birth weight infants, including those who were born at borderline viability between 23 weeks and 25 weeks of gestational age. Their quality-adjusted survival rate also rose progressively, since the large gains in survival over time had not been offset by significant increases in survival with disability. Cost-effectiveness and cost-utility ratios remained stable overall, with efficiency gains in the smaller infants over time, as more such infants were being born in Level III perinatal centers with the regionalization of perinatal-neonatal healthcare programs. National and international surveys of obstetricians and neonatologists on their perception of viability and their management decisions in extremely preterm infants have shown significant variations on the application use of intensive care in those born extremely preterm. If doctors believe that such infants have little prospect for intact survival, their management would be suboptimal or delayed, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Both developed and developing countries need to develop appropriate policies for initiating and withdrawing intensive care, taking into consideration their own cultural, social, and economic factors.
Croatian Medical Journal 11/2005; 46(5):744-50. · 1.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extrauterine growth restriction in preterm infants secondary to suboptimal nutrition is a major problem in neonatal intensive care units. Evidence is emerging that early growth deficits have long-term adverse effects, including short stature and poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. The parenteral route of feeding is essential to maintain nutritional integrity before successful transition to the enteral route of feeding is achieved. Nevertheless, early initiation of enteral feeding in sub-nutritional trophic quantity is vital for promoting gut motility and bile secretion, inducing lactase activity, and reducing sepsis and cholestatic jaundice. Results emerging from over sixty randomized clinical trials are available for providing a template on which feeding protocols can be based. Preterm breast milk expressed from the infant's own mother is the milk of choice. Supplementation with a human milk fortifier is necessary to optimize nutritional intake. Preterm formulas are an appropriate substitute for preterm human milk when the latter is unavailable. There are over ten systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials published by the Cochrane Library that addressed feeding strategies, but most do not address long-term outcome measures of clinical importance. There is an urgent need for large-scale, long-term randomized controlled trials to help evaluate metabolic, growth, and neurodevelopmental responses of preterm infants to earlier and more aggressive nutritional management.
Croatian Medical Journal 11/2005; 46(5):737-43. · 1.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To characterize parent perceptions and satisfaction with physician counseling and delivery-room resuscitation of very low birth weight infants in countries with neonatal intensive care capacity.
Convenience sample of 327 parents of 379 inborn very low birth weight infants (<1501 g) who had received resuscitation and neonatal intensive care in 9 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in 6 Pacific Rim countries and in 2 California hospitals. The sample comprised mostly parents whose infants survived, because in some centers interviews of parents of nonsurviving infants were culturally inappropriate. Of 359 survivors for whom outcome data were asked of parents, 29% were reported to have long-term sequelae. Half-hour structured interviews were performed, using trained interpreters as necessary, at an interval of 13.7 months after the infant's birth. We compared responses to interview questions that detailed counseling patterns, factors taken into consideration in decisions, and acceptance of parental decision-making.
Parents' recall of perinatal counseling differed among centers. The majority of parents assessed physician counseling on morbidity and mortality as adequate in most, but not all, centers. They less commonly perceived discussions of other issues as adequate to their needs. The majority (>65%) of parents in all centers felt that they understood their infant's prognosis after physician counseling. The proportion of parents who expected long-term sequelae in their infant varied from 15% (in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) to 64% (in Singapore). The majority (>70%) of parents in all centers, however, perceived their infant's outcome to be better than they expected from physician counseling. A majority of parents across all centers feared that their infant would die in the NICU, and approximately one third continued to fear that their infant might die at home after nursery discharge. The parents' regard for physicians' and, to a lesser extent, partners' opinions was important in decision-making. Less than one quarter of parents perceived that physicians had made actual life-support decisions on their own except in Melbourne, Australia, and Tokyo, Japan (where 74% and 45% of parents, respectively, reported sole physician decision-making). Parents would have preferred to play a more active, but not autonomous, role in decisions made for their infants. Counseling may heighten parents' anxiety during and after their infant's hospitalization, but that does not diminish their recalled satisfaction with counseling and the decision-making process.
Counseling differs by center among these centers in Australasia and California. Given that parents desire to play an active role in decision-making for their premature infant, physicians should strive to provide parents the medical information critical for informed decision-making. Given that parents do not seek sole decision-making capacity, physicians should foster parental involvement in life-support decisions to the extent appropriate for local cultural norms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study was undertaken to evaluate physician counselling practices and resuscitation decisions for extremely preterm infants in countries of the Pacific Rim. We sought to determine the degree to which physician beliefs, parents' opinion and medical resources influence decision-making for infants at the margin of viability.
A survey was administered to neonatologists and paediatricians who attend deliveries of preterm infants in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore. Questions were asked regarding physician counselling practices, decision-making for extremely preterm infants and demographic information.
Physicians counsel parents antenatally with increasing frequency as gestational age increases. Most physicians discuss infant mortality and morbidity with parents prior to delivery. Physicians less frequently discuss the option of no resuscitation of an extremely preterm infant, withdrawal of support at a later time, or financial costs to parents. Severe congenital malformations, perception of a poor future quality of life, parental wishes and a high probability of death for the infant are influential in limiting resuscitation in very preterm infants for a majority of physicians. Less influential factors are parent socioeconomic status, language barriers, financial costs for the family, allocation of national resources, moral or religious considerations, or fear of litigation. Physician thresholds for resuscitation of infants ranged between 22 and 25 weeks gestation and between 400 and 700 g birthweight.
We report physician beliefs and practices regarding resuscitation and the counselling of parents of extremely preterm infants in Pacific Rim countries. While we find variation among countries, physician practices appear to be determined by ethical decision-making and medical factors rather than social or economic factors in each country.
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 05/2005; 41(4):209-14. · 1.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Close collaboration between obstetricians and neonatologists is essential for proper care of the growth-restricted fetus. A joint decision on the appropriate timing of delivery is made, based on the risk of fetal compromise compared with that of neonatal morbidity. A neonatal resuscitative team should be available at delivery. Gestational assessment, anthropological measurements and physical examination are necessary to confirm the diagnosis of intra-uterine growth retardation and establish the symmetric, asymmetric, combined or dysmorphic classification. Neonatal management requires special attention to a number of significant morbidities that growth-restricted infants are more prone to develop compared with normally grown infants, including asphyxia, meconium aspiration syndrome, respiratory distress syndrome, massive pulmonary haemorrhage, chronic lung disease, hypothermia, hypoglycaemia, hypocalcaemia, polycythaemia-hyperviscosity, intraventricular haemorrhage, sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis, coagulation abnormalities, and congenital anatomical and genetic abnormalities. Intra-uterine growth retardation is associated with a higher stillbirth rate and infant mortality rate in preterm, term and post-term infants.
Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine 11/2004; 9(5):403-9. · 3.51 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The importance of population-based long-term follow-up studies of geographically determined cohorts to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency and availability of a regionalized perinatal-neonatal care programme is demonstrated by the Victorian Infant Collaborative Study Group. The survival and quality of survival of consecutively born extremely-low-birthweight infants below 1000 g or extremely preterm infants below 28 weeks' gestation in the state of Victoria were assessed up to 14 years of age over four distinctive eras: 1979-1989, 1985-1987, 1991-1992 and 1997. Both survival and quality-adjusted survival rates rose progressively in all birth weight and gestation subgroups, associated with progressively more such infants being born in level III perinatal centres. Cost-effectiveness and cost-utility ratios remained stable overall, with efficiency gains in the smaller infants over time. Regionalized long-term follow-up provides unique information that is not available from institution-based studies, which is vital to the regional organization of perinatal-neonatal care.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regionalized perinatal care was first advocated in Canada 35 years ago. Its development in the United States of America (from 1971), United Kingdom (from 1972) and Australia (from 1978), has been described. In all instances, the efforts and perseverance of visionary individuals were crucial in introducing the concepts to the medical profession, and in bringing the principles to national consciousness at a governmental level. Official endorsement of regionalized perinatal care by both the national professional bodies and the central and regional governments was necessary. An important milestone along the path of regionalized perinatal care was the establishment of national training programmes, and the recognition of maternal-fetal medicine and neonatal-perinatal medicine as respective subspecialties for obstetricians and paediatricians. The developmental process requires close collaboration among all three groups (individuals, professional bodies and government) to improve both the quality and availability of perinatal services to a geographically defined region.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Globally, the perinatal mortality rate (PMR) is 53/1000 (7.5 million annual perinatal deaths) and the neonatal mortality rate (NMR) is 36/1000 (5.1 million annual neonatal deaths). Of the 141 million annual livebirths, 127 million (90%) are born in developing countries, which, compared to developed countries, have a higher PMR (57/1000 vs 11/1000, 5.2x) and NMR (39/1000 vs 7/1000, 5.6x). Five million annual neonatal deaths (98% of the world's total) occur in developing countries. Regional annual livebirths figures are: Asia-Oceania 76 million, Africa 31 million, Central and South America 12 million, Europe 8 million, and North America 4 million. Regional annual neonatal death figures are: Asia-Oceania 3.3 million, Africa 1.3 million, Central and South America 0.3 million, Europe 0.07 million, North America 0.03 million. The Asia-Oceania region has a PMR of 53/1000 and a NMR of 41/1000. It has half of the world's livebirths and two-thirds of the world's neonatal deaths. The PMR and NMR have often been used as an indicator of the standard of a country's social, educational and healthcare systems. Strategies, which address inequalities both within a country and between countries, are necessary if there is going to be further improvement in global perinatal health.
Journal of Perinatal Medicine 02/2003; 31(5):376-9. · 1.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present review examines the role of dietary nucleotides in infants, and the scientific rationale and benefits of nucleotide supplementation of infant formula. The immunoprotective benefits of human milk, the biology of human milk nucleotides, and the immunological and gastrointestinal effects of dietary nucleotides in animal studies and in vitro experiments are examined. Clinical studies are reviewed, especially those examining the efficacy of nucleotide-supplemented infant formula in enhancing immunity and reducing the risk of sepsis. The presence of human milk cells, and a variety of immunoactive and trophic components of human milk, can explain the reduced incidence of sepsis in breastfed term and preterm infants. Nucleotides, believed to play an immunomodulatory role, are found in lower concentrations in infant formula. Animal studies have shown that dietary nucleotides enhance a number of immune responses and the growth, differentiation and repair of the gut. Several clinical studies have reported beneficial effects of nucleotide supplementation on gut microflora, diarrhoea and immune function, and one study has reported better catch-up growth in term infants with severe intrauterine growth retardation. More basic research studying the metabolism of nucleotides in neonates is encouraged. Additional randomized controlled trials are necessary to demonstrate the clinical benefits of nucleotide supplementation of infant formula, as it cannot be presumed that nucleotides produce the same benefits for the infant as human milk. Studies are especially necessary in high-risk neonatal situations, such as extreme prematurity, significant suboptimal nutrient intake before and after birth, and recovery from gut injury.
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 01/2003; 38(6):543-9. · 1.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A network of neonatal intensive care units in Pacific Rim countries was formed to compare infant risk factors, clinical practices, and outcomes for very low birthweight infants.
A multicentre, prospective study compared outcomes for infants born smaller than 1501 g or at less than 31 weeks gestation.
Gestational age-specific survival and incidence of intracranial haemorrhage varied for infants born in these nurseries. We found differences in infant risk factors among the nurseries. There were also significant differences in the use of antenatal steroids, but similar rates for Caesarean section and surfactant treatment. The factor most predictive of neonatal death and severe intracranial abnormality was an elevated Clinical Risk Index for Babies (CRIB) score. Antenatal steroid treatment (>24 h prior to delivery) was associated with improved survival and decreased incidence of severe intracranial abnormalities. Antenatal steroid treatment for less than 24 h prior to delivery was not associated with improved survival. Caesarean delivery was associated with improved survival, but showed no benefit regarding the incidence of severe intracranial abnormality.
Our Pacific Rim nursery network found differences in neonatal outcomes that correlated best with measures of neonatal risk at birth, antenatal steroid treatment, and Caesarean delivery. These data emphasize the importance of obstetric care to improve postnatal outcomes in premature infants, and highlight the usefulness of CRIB scores in these patients.
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 06/2002; 38(3):235-40. · 1.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In planning enteral feeding in the preterm infant, decisions need to be made regarding the feeding schedule, choice of milk, and the route of administration. Feeds should be commenced within a week after birth beginning with subnutritional quantities. Preterm human milk from the infant's own mother is the milk of choice. When full enteral feeding is established, supplementation with human milk fortifier is recommended. Donor human milk and preterm formula are alternatives. Early establishment of enteral nutrition and maintenance of optimal nutrition during infancy are important as dietary manipulations in preterm infants have potential long-term influences on their health, growth and neurodevelopment.
Early Human Development 01/2000; 56(2-3):89-115. · 2.02 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the efficacy and side-effects of prolonged low-dose indomethacin therapy in very low birthweight (VLBW; < 1500 g) infants with a haemodynamically significant patent ductus arteriosus (hsPDA).
Very low birthweight infants admitted over a 16 month period were studied (8 months, retrospectively and 10 months, prospectively). Cross-sectional and M-Mode echocardiograms with pulsed-wave and colour Doppler were performed to assess the significance of ductal patency.
Forty-one (28%) of 148 VLBW infants were diagnosed to have hsPDA. Indomethacin therapy was successful in 90% after the first course, increasing to 95% after the second course. The recurrence rate after the first course was 3%. Minor and transient complications included oliguria, urea retention, hyponatraemia and thrombocytopenia. Although three infants had focal bowel perforation and the fourth had bowel perforation associated with necrotizing enterocolitis, the incidence of gastrointenstinal pathology was not significantly different from infants without hsPDA and not given indomethacin.
Very low birthweight infants with hsPDA have a high response rate and low recurrence rate to prolonged low-dose indomethacin therapy. Side-effects were mild and transient. However, it is prudent to be cautious when administering indomethacin in critically ill infants < 1000 g with hsPDA who manifest clinical features of bowel ischaemia.
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 03/1997; 33(1):38-41. · 1.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study compares the use of standard overhead fluorescent phototherapy units with the BiliBlanket a woven fibreoptic pad which delivers high intensity light with no ultraviolet or infrared irradiation in the treatment of jaundice in preterm infants.
We chose to study infants between 800 and 2500 g, with strict criteria for commencing and ceasing phototherapy. Serum bilirubin levels were followed at 12-24 h intervals until 24 h after cessation of phototherapy. Infants were allocated at random to receive either conventional phototherapy or the BiliBlanket.
There were 24 infants in the conventional group and 20 in the BiliBlanket group. Mean duration of phototherapy was compared and was 44 h for the conventional group versus 42 h for the BiliBlanket group.
We have shown that the BiliBlanket is as effective as conventional phototherapy and was well accepted by nursing staff and parents.
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 03/1995; 31(1):11-3. · 1.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During a 10-year period, 1977 to 1986, 233 (53%) of 442 inborn live births between 23 and 28 weeks' gestation survived; their 1-year survival rate was 7% at 23 weeks, 30% at 24 weeks, 31% at 25 weeks, 55% at 26 weeks, 67% at 27 weeks, and 71% at 28 weeks. No significant change in survival rate was observed over the years. Twelve percent of pregnancies and 20% of infants were multiple gestations. Singleton births had significantly higher survival rates compared with multiple births (58% versus 41%). The obstetric intervention rate, as measured by the frequency of cesarean section, increased significantly over the years: from 15% in 1977-1978 to 33% in 1985-1986. The neonatal intervention rate, as measured by the frequency of live births offered neonatal intensive care, remained unchanged. Ten percent were not treated: 4% had major malformations and 6% were considered "nonviable." Active perinatal management, which assumed fetal-neonatal viability, accounted for better survival rates compared with centers with a more passive management policy. Information on survival based on gestational cohorts plays an important role in helping obstetricians, neonatologists, and parents make appropriate management decisions.
American Journal of Perinatology 06/1992; 9(3):164-9. · 1.57 Impact Factor