U.S. researchers have revealed that the survival chances
of premature babies depend on a host of factors other than the gestational age.
Premature babies or preemies are ones that are born between 22 to 25 weeks of
The study in the New England Journal of Medicine said
that girls and babies that weighed more had a better survival chance.
Additionally preemies whose moms were treated with steroids also survived in a
much better manner.
Taking these factors into consideration also seemed to
help with avoiding conditions like blindness, hearing loss, thinking problems
and cerebral palsy.
Dr. Rosemary Higgins of the National Institute of Child
Health and Human Development (NICHD) explained that doctors would be able to
decide on whether to give aggressive treatment for premature babies by
considering the above factors.
The study involved 4,446 infants born 22 to 25 weeks
after conception. Researchers report that 49 percent of the babies died, while
just 21 percent managed to survive without any disability. Gender seems to play
a role in determining survival chances as a girl born at 23 weeks had a 26
percent chance of surviving as compared to 22 percent for a boy.
The calculator can be
accessed at www.nichd.nih.gov/neonatalestimates