Reports of the outcomes of infants born with marginal viability in developing countries are limited. This study aimed to determine the mortality rate and major disabilities of extremely preterm infants.
A retrospective cohort with a prospective part of neurodevelopmental assessment was performed in infants born at 23-25 weeks’ gestational age (GA) who received active resuscitation and were admitted to neonatal intensive care unit during 2005-2015. Surviving infants were recruited for neurodevelopmental assessment including cognition, gross motor and neurosensory disorders. Major disability was defined as one of the following: severe cognitive impairment, severe cerebral palsy, blindness or deafness.
A total of 67 infants were enrolled (8, 22 and 37 in the 23, 24 and 25 weeks’ GA groups, respectively). The overall mortality rate before discharge was 26%. Infants in the 23 and 24 weeks’ GA groups had a significantly higher mortality rate than did those in the 25 weeks’ GA group (42 vs. 10%). Of 50 survivors (aged 2-12 years), 3 and 2 had blindness and deafness, respectively. Cognitive function assessment in 37 survivors showed that 4 (11%) and 15 (40%) had severe and borderline cognitive impairment, respectively. Death or major disability was found in 100, 63 and 38% in the 23, 24 and 25 weeks’ GA groups, respectively.
In our centre, infants born at 23-24 weeks had a much higher chance of death or major disability than those born at 25 weeks’ GA. Given such information, active management should be offered together with the family’s involvement.

© 2020 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians).