All Rotunda's 28-Week Preemies Survived Last Year


In a remarkable achievement, Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital reports that, for the first time in its history, all premature babies born at 28 weeks last year survived - with 10 more young lives saved than in any previous year.


New research at the world’s oldest maternity hospital shines a light on the life-saving effect the utilisation of certain drugs and treatment plans has had, with all of the 200 pre-term babies born at 28 weeks surviving in 2017. In previous years, up to 95 per cent of the infants born at 28 weeks survived.


“The 100 per cent figure accounts for 10 more babies’ lives being saved,” said Prof Fergal Malone, Master of the Rotunda. “That’s amazing for the babies, their families and the children’s long-term health.”


Drugs such as steroids are now helping the pre-term infants’ lungs develop while magnesium has decreased the risk of cerebral palsy. And staff are working to get premature babies off ventilators at a quicker pace, to help them learn to breathe unaided.


The hospital holds cross-departmental meetings each week for the most serious pregnancies, where all experts discuss planning the birth. Decisions are also made as to when a difficult labour is best scheduled, to avoid last-minute issues or busy hospital periods. Prof Malone said this is to avoid having complex births take place at “2am on a Saturday night, for example.” “It’s so positive when we see premature babies with high survival rates,” he said.


“Being born pre-term is very high risk – it’s associated with risks of death and of disability. When a baby survives, to see improvements in their health, their life, is really, really important. It makes a big difference to us as medics at the hospital.”


“Sadly, we can’t guarantee every baby will survive, but the 2017 figures are very hopeful,” he added.


The hospital will mark World Prematurity Day on Saturday. Every year 4,500 babies, or one every two hours, are born prematurely - before 40 weeks - in Ireland.

Irish Independent. November 15.

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