Clin Exp Pediatr.  2020 Aug;63(8):284-290. 10.3345/cep.2019.00822.

Short- and long-term outcomes of very low birth weight infants in Korea: Korean Neonatal Network update in 2019

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Korea currently has the world’s lowest birth rate but a rapidly inreasing number of preterm infants. The Korean Neonatal Network (KNN), launched by the Korean Society of Neonatology under the support of Korea Centers for Disease Control, has collected population-based data for very low birth weight infants (VLBWIs) born in Korea since 2013. In terms of the short-term outcomes of VLBWIs born from 2013 to 2016 registered in the KNN, the survival rate of all VLBWIs was 86%. Respiratory distress syndrome and bronchopulmonary dysplasia were observed in 78% and 30% of all VLBWIs, respectively. Necrotizing enterocolitis occurred in 7%, while 8% of the VLBWIs needed therapy for retinopathy of prematurity in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Sepsis occurred in 21% during their NICU stay. Intraventricular hemorrhage (grade ≥III) was diagnosed in 10%. In terms of the long-term outcomes for VLBWIs born from 2013 to 2014 registered in the KNN, the post-discharge mortality rate was approximately 1.2%–1.5%, mainly owing to their underlying illness. Nearly half of the VLBWIs were readmitted to the hospital at least once in their first 1–2 years of life, mostly as a result of respiratory diseases. The overall prevalence of cerebral palsy was 6.2%–6.6% in Korea. Bilateral blindness was reported in 0.2%–0.3% of VLBWIs, while bilateral hearing loss was found in 0.8%–1.9%. Since its establishment, the KNN has published annual reports and papers that facilitate the improvement of VLBWI outcome and the formulation of essential healthcare policies in Korea.


Very low birth weight infants; Premature infants; Neonatal intensive care unit
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