Extremely Preterm Infant Admissions Within the SafeBoosC-III Consortium During the COVID-19 Lockdown

Marie Isabel Rasmussen, Mathias Lühr Hansen, Gerhard Pichler, Eugene Dempsey, Adelina Pellicer, Afif EL-Khuffash, Shashidhar A, Salvador Piris-Borregas, Miguel Alsina, Merih Cetinkaya, Lina Chalak, Hilal Özkan, Mariana Baserga, Jan Sirc, Hans Fuchs, Ebru Ergenekon, Luis Arruza, Amit Mathur, Martin Stocker, Olalla Otero VaccarelloTomasz Szczapa, Kosmas Sarafidis, Barbara Królak-Olejnik, Asli Memisoglu, Hallvard Reigstad, Elżbieta Rafińska-Ważny, Eleftheria Hatzidaki, Zhang Peng, Despoina Gkentzi, Renaud Viellevoye, Julie De Buyst, Emmanuele Mastretta, Ping Wang, Gitte Holst Hahn, Lars Bender, Luc Cornette, Jakub Tkaczyk, Ruth del Rio, Monica Fumagalli, Evangelia Papathoma, Maria Wilinska, Gunnar Naulaers, Iwona Sadowska-Krawczenko, Chantal Lecart, María Luz Couce, Siv Fredly, Anne Marie Heuchan, Tanja Karen, Gorm Greisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate if the number of admitted extremely preterm (EP) infants (born before 28 weeks of gestational age) differed in the neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) of the SafeBoosC-III consortium during the global lockdown when compared to the corresponding time period in 2019. Design: This is a retrospective, observational study. Forty-six out of 79 NICUs (58%) from 17 countries participated. Principal investigators were asked to report the following information: (1) Total number of EP infant admissions to their NICU in the 3 months where the lockdown restrictions were most rigorous during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) Similar EP infant admissions in the corresponding 3 months of 2019, (3) the level of local restrictions during the lockdown period, and (4) the local impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the everyday life of a pregnant woman. Results: The number of EP infant admissions during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was 428 compared to 457 in the corresponding 3 months in 2019 (−6.6%, 95% CI −18.2 to +7.1%, p = 0.33). There were no statistically significant differences within individual geographic regions and no significant association between the level of lockdown restrictions and difference in the number of EP infant admissions. A post-hoc analysis based on data from the 46 NICUs found a decrease of 10.3%in the total number of NICU admissions (n = 7,499 in 2020 vs. n = 8,362 in 2019). Conclusion: This ad hoc study did not confirm previous reports of a major reduction in the number of extremely pretermbirths during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinical Trial Registration: ClinicalTrial.gov, identifier: NCT04527601 (registered August 26, 2020), https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04527601.

Original languageEnglish
Article number647880
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - Jul 12 2021


  • COVID-19
  • extremely preterm
  • neonatal intensive care unit admission
  • observational study
  • pandemic
  • randomized clinical trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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