Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the outcome of extremely low-birth-weight infants (ELBW) requiring surgical interventions for the complications of prematurity Methods: One hundred eighty-seven consecutive infants with a birth weight less than 1,000 g treated over a 5-year period were reviewed. Outcome variables included number and types of surgical procedures; length of stay; survival rate and; pulmonary, neurologic, and gastrointestinal morbidity. Results: Surgical interventions were required in 66 (35%) infants (group S) weighing less than 1,000 g at birth (33% necrotizing enterocolitis/bowel perforation, 36% patent ductus arteriosus, 56% other). Overall mortality rate for group S infants was 23% compared with 22% for those not requiring surgery (group NS; P > .05). Mortality rate rose to 38% for those infants undergoing procedures for necrotizing enterocolitis/bowel perforation (P < .05). Although neurologic and pulmonary morbidity for the entire population were high, there was no difference in their incidence between surgical and nonsurgical groups (29% v 26% and 44% v65%, group S v group NS, respectively; P > .05). Conclusions: These data suggest an improving outcome for ELBW infants. Common associated morbidities of prematurity do not appear adversely affected by surgical interventions supporting an aggressive approach to the care of these infants at the extreme of life.
- Extremely low birth weight