Recent literature confirms that, at the lower limit of extrauterine survival, substantial intercenter variability exists in resuscitation practice. The reasons for this variability are unclear, but may be related to disagreement on how to apply the best interests standard to extremely premature infants. Currently, both obstetric and pediatric societies recommend against assessing for viability or attempting resuscitation before 22 weeks’ gestation. In this context, we report the unimpaired 2-year outcome of a female infant resuscitated after delivery at 21 weeks’ 4 days’ gestation and 410 g birth weight. She may be the most premature known survivor to date. This infant had multiple risk factors for adverse outcome, including prolonged mechanical ventilation, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and threshold retinopathy of prematurity. She achieved discharge from the hospital on low-flow oxygen at 39 weeks’ 4 days’ gestation and 2519 g. At 24 months’ and 8 days’ chronological age, she achieved cognitive, motor, and language Bayley III scores of 90, 89, and 88, equivalent to 105, 100, and 103 at 20 months 2 days corrected age. It is known that active intervention policies at 22 weeks’ gestation improves the outcome for those infants and it may be reasonable to infer that these benefits would extend, if to a lesser degree, into the 21st week. Ultimately, such limited data exist at this gestational age that the time may have arrived for obstetrical centers to begin systematically reporting fetal outcomes in the 21st week.
- Accepted March 9, 2017.
- Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics