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.
- extremely preterm
- neonatal intensive care unit admission
- observational study
- randomized clinical trial
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health