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May 1985

Standardizing the Mortality Risk for Newborns With Very Low Birth Weights

Author Affiliations

Department of Pathology Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Pennsylvania State University Hershey, PA 17033

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(5):445-446. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140070019017

In this issue, W. H. Kitchen illustrates the pitfalls of using mortalities to measure the effectiveness of medical care for neonates weighing 1,000 g or less when different investigators use different criteria for including or excluding infants from their mortality calculations. A general agreement on such inclusions and exclusions is sorely needed, but it is only the first requirement for making meaningful comparisons among groups of neonates with low birth weights who are from various populations in different institutions receiving a wide range of therapy. To make such comparisons credible, some way must be found to quantitate and thereby standardize the mortality risk for neonates in terms of their maturity and the degree of hypoxia they have experienced before medical interventions begin. This is a difficult task because maternal lifestyles and pregnancy disorders have large effects on the maturity of neonates with low birth weights and on the severity of