Survival of preterm babies improves in Canada
According to new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), the rate of survival of very preterm babies in Canada increased 25% after the national Evidence-based Practice for Improving Quality (EPIQ) program was introduced in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) across the country.
The study analyzed the effect of changes in care practices on outcomes for 50 831 infants born prematurely between 2004 and 2017. Researchers found that survival without major adverse health effects increased from 56.6% to 70.9% (25%) for very preterm babies and from 70.8% to 74.5% (5%) for babies born between 23 and 25 weeks' gestation, over the course of the 14-year program. Preterm babies often have chronic health issues due to early premature birth, and this quality improvement program resulted in a significant reduction in several adverse outcomes for such babies.
"Within the Canadian neonatal community, we have developed a system of continuously learning from each centre about how evidence-based strategies are implemented and what are the barriers and facilitators for improving quality," says Dr. Prakesh Shah, Paediatrician-in-Chief at Sinai Health and Director of the Canadian Neonatal Network. "This learning, combined with a regular flow of data to guide our practices, has significantly improved outcomes for most vulnerable newborns."