Major health complications can arise from the premature delivery of an infant and can result in life-changing detrimental effects on the infant and their family. Studies performed throughout the world have shown that mortality and incidence of major complications decline with weekly increasing gestational ages. Major complications that arise out of a premature delivery generally include: severe intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), and moderate/sever bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Where a premature delivery becomes necessary, proper care of the infant may require complex intervention by an experienced perinatal team.
How Gestational Age Affects Mortality and the Incidence of Major Complication
The Swiss Neonatal Network has found a significant relationship between the rate of mortality and major complication and the gestational age of the infant at delivery. Specifically, the mortality rate for infants born at or before 23 weeks was 95%. From 23 to 26 weeks, mortality decreases to 23%; and from 27 to 31 weeks, mortality rates drop by 40%. At 31 weeks, the mortality rate is 3%. The decrease of mortality between 23 to 31 weeks is extremely significant which is why it is crucial for health care providers to make the proper decision when deciding to deliver an infant.
A study completed by the Swiss Neonatal Network, found that the overall rate of infants free from major complications to be 66%. The rate of infants free of major complications increased linearly by nearly 11% per week. At 23 weeks gestational age, only 2% of infants were free of major complications. However, just 4 weeks later, around 59% of infants had no major complications. At 31 weeks, an astonishing 89% of infants were delivered free of major complications.
Effect of Antenatal Steroid on Mortality and Major Complications
In a study completed by the Swiss Neonatal Network, the implementation of antenatal steroids had a significant beneficial effect on rates of mortalities and major complications. The study found that patients who had received antenatal steroids had lower rates of morbidity at 11%, as opposed to 18% without the steroids. The implementation of antenatal steroids also had a significant decrease on the incidence of IVH on premature infants of 5%, versus 12% of those who did not receive the steroid. An increase in premature infants free of major complications was demonstrated in those who had been given antenatal steroids. Another study completed by the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative showed a significant decrease of IVH, totaling 19.4% across the entire cohort as well as a decrease in intubation. If you are pregnant and experiencing complications, you should consult with your healthcare provider to decide whether antenatal steroids are right for you.
Prevention of Mortality and Major Complications
To prevent mortalities and major complications resulting from the premature delivery of an infant, a health-care provider should consider the gestational age of the infant to determine whether antenatal steroids should be used. Before inducing premature birth, the doctors should take extraordinary care to ensure the safety of the infant. A good doctor will provide the parents clear information to facilitate informed decision-making by the parents.
If your infant or a loved one’s infant has suffered major complications or death due to an unnecessary premature birth, you may be entitled to recover significant damages including medical expenses and pain and suffering. At PERENICH LAW, we have experience handing cases such as these. Let our legal team work for you to win your case
Contact our dedicated Tampa Bay medical malpractice attorneys at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys today for a free confidential consultation and case evaluation. Let our experience work for you.