Published: 2021-01-22

Survival rate and length of stay of preterm babies less than 1500 grams in a neonatal unit in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Boma A. West


Background: The survival rate and length of stay of preterm babies which is usually of concern to both parents and clinicians is critical in counselling parents at the time of admission and also assesses the efficiency of the neonatal unit thus necessitating the present study.

Methods: A prospective study carried out over 30 months in the neonatal unit of Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.

Results: Of 115 preterm babies <1500 gm studied, commonest gestational age and birth weight were 30 weeks 25 (21.7%) and 1000-1199 gm, 35 (30.4%) respectively. There were 100% survival rates for preterms delivered at 31 weeks, 33 weeks, 34 weeks and 36 weeks gestation; 0% survival at 25 weeks and 25% at 24 weeks and 26 weeks gestation. Survival rate was highest among birth weight 1400-1499 gm (89.2%) and lowest with birth weight <1000 gm (30.4%). Length of stay was longest with gestational age of 24 weeks (62.00±0.00 days) and birth weight <1000 gm (57.71±9.96 days) and shortest for gestational age of 35 weeks (20.00±0.00 days) and birth weights 1400-1499 gm (31.92±12.12 days). Survival status was significantly associated with gestational age and birth weight, p value <0.0001. Preterms with early onset sepsis and severe anaemia were significantly associated with length of stay, p value <0.05.

Conclusions: The survival rate of preterms <1500 gm increase with increasing gestational age and birth weights while the length of stay increase with decreasing gestational age and birth weight. These findings will therefore form part of the counselling given to parents/caregivers during admission of their preterm babies.


Length of stay, Preterms, Survival rates

Full Text:



World Health Organisation. Preterm birth. Available from: Accessed on 4 November 2020.

Liu L, Oza S, Hogan D, Chu Y, Perin J, Zhu J, et al. Global, regional and national causes of under-5 mortality in 2000-15: an updated systematic analysis with implications for the Sustainable Development Goals. Lancet. 2016;388:3027-35.

Fleming PJ, Ingram J, Johnson D, Blair PS. Estimating discharge dates using routinely collected data: Improving the preparedness of parents of preterm infants for discharge home. Arch Dis Child Fet Neonat Ed. 2017;102: F170-2.

Manktelow B, Draper ES, Field C, Field D. Estimates of length of neonatal stay for very premature babies in the UK. Arch Dis Child Fet Neonat Ed. 2010;95:F288-92.

Bender GJ, Koestler D, Ombao H, McCourt M, Alskinis B, Rubin LP, et al. Neonatal intensive care unit: Predictive models for length of stay. J Perinatol. 2013;33:147-53.

Kumaravel KS, Gaesh J, Balaji J, Pugalendhiraja KV, Babu RB. A study on impact of NRHM on neonatal care and clinical profile of neonates admitted in a SNCU of a rural medical college. J Evol Med Dent Sci. 2015;4:14335-47.

Seaton SE, Barker L, Jerkins D, Draper ES, Abrams KR, Manktelow BN. What factors predict length of stay in a neonatal unit: a systematic review. BMJ Open. 2016;6:e010466.

Eichenwald EC, Zupancic JA, Mao WY, Richardson DK, McCormick MC, Escobar GJ. Variation in diagnosis of apnea in moderately preterm infants predict length of stay. Paediatrics. 2011;127:e53-8.

Hintz SR, Bann CM, Ambalavanan N, Cotton CM, Das A, Higgins RD, et al. Predicting time to hospital discharge for extremely preterm infants. Pediatrics. 2010;125:e146-54.

Altman M, Vanpee M, Cnattingius S, Norman M. Moderately preterm infants and determinants of length of hospital stay. Arch Dis Child Fet Neonat Ed. 2009;94:F414-8.

Kunle-Olowu OE, Peterside O, Adeyemi OO. Prevalence and outcome of preterm admissions at the neonatal unit of a tertiary Health centre in Southern Nigeria. Open J Pediatr. 2014;4:67-75.

Al Johani E, Qaraqei M, Al-Matary A. Estimating the neonatal length of stay for preterm babies in a Saudi tertiary hospital. J Clin Nonatol. 2020;9:13-7.

Armanian A, Zadeh MM, Soleimani R, Salehimehr N, Zadeh HA. The duration of hospitalization and readmission rate of low birth weight infants in a tertiary referral hospital in Isfahan, Iran. Iranian J Neonatol. 2015;6:17-21.

Murki S, Vardhelli V, Deshabhotia S, Sharma D, Pawale D, Kulkarni D, et al. Predictors of length of hospital stay among preterm infants admitted to neonatal intensive care unit: Data from a multicentre collaborative network from India (INNC: Indian National Neonatal Collaborative). J Paediatr Child Health. 2020;56(10):1584-9.

Maier RF, Blondel B, Piedvache A, Misselwitz B, Petrou S, Reempts PV, et al. Duration and time trends in hospital stay for very preterm infants differ across European regions. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2018;19:1153-61.

Numerato D. Preterm infants: A EuroHOPE study. PLoS One. 2015;10:e0131685.

Seaton SE, Barker L, Draper ES, Abrams KR, Modi N, Manktelow BN, et al. Estimating neonatal length of stay for babies born very preterm. Arch Dis Fet Neonat Ed. 2019;104:F182-6.

Aly H, Hoffman H, El-Dib M, Said L, Mohamed M. Factors affecting length of stay in late preterm infants: an US national database study. J Matern Fet Neonat Med. 2015;28:598-604.