Although the incidence of RDS for whites remained stable during
the two time periods, the study found the mortality rate for these newborns
dropped 66 percent. In black very low birth-weight infants, the incidence
of RDS rose slightly from 60 to 65 percent during the two time periods.
However, Hamvas said the death rate for these newborns fell by only 11
Hamvas said the study shows there are a variety of other reasons
premature infants die. "Because of this effective therapy, we have reduced
one cause of death. But we're now unmasking other types of problems very
low birth-weight infants might have," said Hamvas.
These problems, he said, may be attributed to a combination of
biological, social and environmental factors such as infection, adolescent
pregnancy or access to prenatal care.
Overall, the researchers said trying to prevent premature births is
the most effective way to save babies. Hamvas suggested that understanding
the causes of pre-term labor, preventing teenage pregnancy, and improving
access to prenatal care and education programs may help reduce premature
births and deaths related to prematurity.
"We've made great strides with our technology and treatment, but
these advances may not result in greater social equity," Hamvas said. "The
emphasis should be on preventing these babies from getting here early."
Page: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Diane Duke
Washington University School of Medicine
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