HealthDay News — Delivery before 25 weeks of gestation may represent a critical cutoff for a higher risk for long-term neurological complications following preterm birth, according to a study published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Shiran Zer, M.D., from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel, and colleagues assessed whether a critical threshold exists for long-term pediatric neurological morbidity and cerebral palsy (CP) in preterm delivery. The incidence of long-term hospitalizations of offspring due to neurological morbidity was assessed by gestational age at birth: 24 to 27.6 weeks; 28 to 31.6 weeks; 32 to 36.6 weeks, and term deliveries (220,563 deliveries total).

The researchers found that when adjusting for confounders, delivery before 25 weeks had a greater risk for long-term neurological morbidity (adjusted hazard ratio, 3.9). There was a linear association observed between long-term neurological morbidity and decreasing gestational age. Infants born before 25 weeks of gestation had increased rates of CP (adjusted hazard ratio, 62.4).


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“Clinical practice should attempt prevention of preterm delivery where possible and attempt to optimize the timing of medically [indicated] induced delivery as close to full term as medically possible without surpassing an unacceptable increase in the risk to both mother and fetus,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text