Gestational age-specific sex difference in mortality and morbidities of preterm infants: A nationwide study

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This study aims to determine whether male sex has adverse effect on mortality and morbidities in very low birth weight infants (VLBWI) <30 weeks of gestation and to ascertain this sex effect, stratified by gestational age, adjusting for perinatal risk factors. This is a population-based study from Korean Neonatal Network for VLBWI born at 23+0 and 29+6 weeks of gestation between January 2013 and December 2014. The primary outcome was gestation-specific sex difference in the occurrence of mortality, combined morbidities, and individual morbidity. A total of 2228 VLBWI were enrolled (males, 51.7%). Mortality was not different between sexes. The risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and combined morbidities was significantly higher in males ≤25 weeks of gestation (odds ratio [OR] 2.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.35-3.20 and OR 2.00, CI 1.19-3.39, respectively). Males had a significantly higher incidence of periventricular leukomalacia at 23 and 29 weeks of gestation. The risk of severe retinopathy of prematurity was higher in females >25 weeks of gestation. Although both sexes have similar risk for mortality, male sex remains an independent risk for major morbidities, especially at ≤25 weeks of gestation. The risk of each outcome for males has a specific pattern with increasing gestational age.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6161
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

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