Population-Based Outcomes Data for Counseling at the Margin of Gestational Viability

Patrick Myers*, Naomi Laventhal, Bree Andrews, Joanne Lagatta, William Meadow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective To survey neonatologists as to how many use population-based outcomes data to counsel families before and after the birth of 22- to 25-week preterm infants. Study design An anonymous online survey was distributed to 1022 neonatologists in the US. Questions addressed the use of population-based outcome data in prenatal and postnatal counseling. Results Ninety-one percent of neonatologists reported using population-based outcomes data for counseling. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network Outcomes Data is most commonly used (65%) with institutional databases (14.5%) the second choice. Most participants (89%) reported that these data influence their counseling, but it was less clear whether specific estimates of mortality and morbidity influenced families; 36% of neonatologist felt that these data have little or no impact on families. Seventy-one percent reported that outcomes data estimates confirmed their own predictions, but among those who reported having their assumptions challenged, most had previously been overly pessimistic. Participants place a high value on gestational age and family preference in counseling; however, among neonatologists in high-volume centers, the presence of fetal complications was also reported to be an important factor. A large portion of respondents reported using prenatal population-based outcomes data in the neonatal intensive care unit. Conclusion Despite uncertainty about their value and impact, neonatologists use population-based outcomes data and provide specific estimates of survival and morbidity in consultation before and after extremely preterm birth. How best to integrate these data into comprehensive, family-centered counseling of infants at the margin of viability is an important area of further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-212.e4
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • ethics
  • neonate
  • prematurity
  • prenatal outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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