Temporal Trends in Severe Brain Injury and Associated Outcomes in Very Preterm Infants

Abdul Razak, Emily Johnston, Alice Stewart, Marissa A.T. Clark, Penelope Stevens, Margaret Charlton, Flora Wong, Courtney McDonald, Rod W. Hunt, Suzanne Miller, Atul Malhotra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Introduction: Severe brain injury (SBI), including severe intraventricular haemorrhage (sIVH) and cystic periventricular leukomalacia, poses significant challenges for preterm infants, yet recent data and trends are limited. Methods: Analyses were conducted using the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network data on preterm infants born <32 weeks’ gestation admitted at Monash Children’s Hospital, Australia, from January 2014 to April 2021. The occurrence and trends of SBI and sIVH among preterm infants, along with the rates and trends of death and neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in SBI infants were assessed. Results: Of 1,609 preterm infants, 6.7% had SBI, and 5.6% exhibited sIVH. A total of 37.6% of infants with SBI did not survive to discharge, with 92% of these deaths occurring following redirection of clinical care. Cerebral palsy was diagnosed in 65.2% of SBI survivors, while 86.4% of SBI survivors experienced NDI. No statistically significant differences were observed in the temporal trends of SBI (adjusted OR [95% CI] 1.08 [0.97–1.20]; p = 0.13) or sIVH (adjusted OR [95% CI] 1.09 [0.97–1.21]; p = 0.11). Similarly, there was no statistically significant difference noted in the temporal trend of the composite outcome, which included death or NDI among infants with SBI (adjusted OR [95% CI] 0.90 [0.53–1.53]; p = 0.71). Conclusion: Neither the rates of SBI nor its associated composite outcome of death or NDI improved over time. A notable proportion of preterm infants with SBI faced redirection of care and subsequent mortality, while most survivors exhibited adverse neurodevelopmental challenges. The development of better therapeutic interventions is imperative to improve outcomes for these vulnerable infants.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Brain injury
  • Death
  • Intraventricular haemorrhage
  • Mortality
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Preterm
  • Redirection of care
  • Trends

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