By Accountable Care Journal-
The British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM) has yesterday published new guidance for treating extremely premature babies, in response to a recent NHS report showing emerging evidence of improved survival rates.
Last time that the BAPM published guidance on the topic – more than ten years ago – only two out of ten babies born at 23 weeks, who received treatment in neonatal intensive care, would survive. In contrast, today four out of ten babies born at 23 weeks receiving treatment in UK neonatal units are expected to survive.
The report also found that although overall outcomes are improving, the prognosis remains guarded for extremely premature babies. According to the study, seven out of 10 babies born alive at 22 weeks die despite intensive medical treatment while eight out of 10 babies born alive at 26 weeks now survive.
Dr Helen Mactier, president of the BAPM and Consultant Neonatologist at the Princess Royal Maternity in Glasgow, said that they feel the responsibility to offer the best possible care to babies and advice to parents. She also welcomed the new guidance as it, “aligns recommended clinical practice with the most up-to-date science, ensuring that advice to parents is consultative, consistent and evidence-based. ”
Also addressing the report, Dominic Wilkinson, Professor of Medical Ethics at the University of Oxford and Consultant Neonatologist at John Radcliffe Hospital said that it represents "fantastic news”, adding that, “decisions around the care of tiny infants are some of the most difficult that parents or doctors ever have to face. ”
Mr Edward Morris, Vice President for Clinical Quality and President-Elect of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) expressed their own commitment to improving care for premature infants. The RCOG has recently launched a three-year programme of work with the Tommys, the charity for premature, stillbirth and miscarriage, “this will involve the creation of a digital tool to personalise and improve maternity care for women,” he said, “supporting the Government’s objectives to reduce stillbirth and premature birth across the country. ”