Aim: We investigated the timing of survival differences and effects on morbidity for foetuses alive at maternal admission to hospital delivered at 22 to 26 weeks’ gestational age (GA).
Methods: Data from the EXPRESS (Sweden, 2004-07), EPICure-2 (England, 2006) and EPIPAGE-2 (France, 2011) cohorts were harmonised. Survival, stratified by GA, was analysed to 112 days using Kaplan-Meier analyses and Cox regression adjusted for population and pregnancy characteristics; neonatal morbidities, survival to discharge and follow-up and outcomes at 2-3 years of age were compared.
Results: Among 769 EXPRESS, 2310 EPICure-2 and 1359 EPIPAGE-2 foetuses, 112-day survival was, respectively, 28.2%, 10.8% and 0.5% at 22-23 weeks’ GA; 68.5%, 40.0% and 23.6% at 24 weeks; 80.5%, 64.8% and 56.9% at 25 weeks; and 86.6%, 77.1% and 74.4% at 26 weeks. Deaths were most marked in EPIPAGE-2 before 1 day at 22-23 and 24 weeks GA. At 25 weeks, survival varied before 28 days; differences at 26 weeks were minimal. Cox analyses were consistent with the Kaplan-Meier analyses. Variations in morbidities were not clearly associated with survival.
Conclusion: Differences in survival and morbidity outcomes for extremely preterm births are evident despite adjustment for background characteristics. No clear relationship was identified between early mortality and later patterns of morbidity.