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Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Potentially Life-Saving Care of Preterm Infants Narrow Over Time

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Colm Travers, M.D., MSPH Assistant Professor Department of Pediatrics University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Travers

Colm Travers, M.D., MSPH
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics
University of Alabama at Birmingham

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: It is known that black mothers are much more likely to deliver preterm and low birth weight infants. The purpose of this study was to determine whether racial/ethnic disparities in care practices and outcomes were decreasing or increasing among extremely preterm infants.

These are infants born from 22 to 27 weeks of gestation who have a high risk of death and major illnesses. 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that racial/ethnic disparities in rates of potentially life-saving care practices including antenatal corticosteroids and caesarean delivery are decreasing over time. Antenatal corticosteroids are given to mothers before delivery to improve survival and other major outcomes in preterm infants. We also found that the rate of late-onset sepsis was initially higher among black and Hispanic infants but decreased more rapidly compared with white infants so that rates converged during the most recent years. We did not observe racial/ethnic disparities in mortality which decreased over time in all groups. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Improvements in mortality and most major morbidities did not differ by race/ethnicity. Disparities in late-onset sepsis and important care practices have narrowed over time. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We observed that while rates of survival were improving over time, rates of neurodevelopmental impairment were increasing in all groups. This requires continued monitoring.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: In this study we did not examine what social or policy changes over time may have contributed to these trends.


Travers CP, Carlo WA, McDonald SA, et al. Racial/Ethnic Disparities Among Extremely Preterm Infants in the United States From 2002 to 2016. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(6):e206757. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.6757 


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Jun 11, 2020 @ 12:14 am 

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