Physician Perceptions on Quality of Life and Resuscitation Preferences for Extremely Early Newborns

Danielle Lore*, Christopher Mattson, Dalia M. Feltman, Jessica T. Fry, Kathleen G. Brennan, Marin Arnolds

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective  The study aimed to explore physician views on whether extremely early newborns will have an acceptable quality of life (QOL), and if these views are associated with physician resuscitation preferences. Study Design  We performed a cross-sectional survey of neonatologists and maternal fetal medicine (MFM) attendings, fellows, and residents at four U.S. medical centers exploring physician views on future QOL of extremely early newborns and physician resuscitation preferences. Mixed-effects logistic regression models examined association of perceived QOL and resuscitation preferences when adjusting for specialty, level of training, gender, and experience with ex-premature infants. Results  A total of 254 of 544 (47%) physicians were responded. A minority of physicians had interacted with surviving extremely early newborns when they were ≥3 years old (23% of physicians in pediatrics/neonatology and 6% in obstetrics/MFM). The majority of physicians did not believe an extremely early newborn would have an acceptable QOL at the earliest gestational ages (11% at 22 and 23% at 23 weeks). The majority of physicians (73%) believed that having an extremely preterm infant would have negative effects on the family's QOL. Mixed-effects logistic regression models (odds ratio [OR], 95% confidence interval [CI]) revealed that physicians who believed infants would have an acceptable QOL were less likely to offer comfort care only at 22 (OR: 0.19, 95% CI: 0.05-0.65, p < 0.01) and 23 weeks (OR: 0.24, 95% CI: 0.07-0.78, p < 0.02). They were also more likely to offer active treatment only at 24 weeks (OR: 9.66, 95% CI: 2.56-38.87, p < 0.01) and 25 weeks (OR: 19.51, 95% CI: 3.33-126.72, p < 0.01). Conclusion  Physician views of extremely early newborns' future QOL correlated with self-reported resuscitation preferences. Residents and obstetric physicians reported more pessimistic views on QOL. Key Points Views of QOL varied by specialty and level of training. Contact with former extremely early newborns was limited. QOL views were associated with preferred resuscitation practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican journal of perinatology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • neonatology
  • obstetrics
  • prematurity
  • quality of life
  • resuscitation preferences
  • trainee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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