To know the distribution of births of very low birth weight infants by day of the week, and whether this distribution affects the morbidity and mortality in this group of patients.
This was a retrospective analysis of data collected prospectively in the Spanish SEN1500 network (2002–2011). Outborn infants, patients with major congenital anomalies, and those who died in the delivery room were excluded. Births were grouped into “weekdays” and “weekends.” A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the independent effect of the birth moment on outcomes, and Cox regression for survival.
Out of a total of 27,205 very low birth weight infants born at and/or admitted to the participating centers, 22,961 (84.4%) met inclusion criteria. A reduction of 24% in the number of births was observed during the “weekends” compared with “weekdays”. In the raw analysis, patients born on weekends exhibited higher morbidity and mortality (mortality rate: 14.2% vs. 16.5%, p < 0.001), but differences were no longer significant after adjusting for confounding factors.
The present results suggest that current care practices reduce the proportion of births during the weekends and tend to cluster some high-risk births during this period, increasing crude morbidity and mortality. However, after adjusting for confounding factors, the differences disappear, suggesting that overall care coverage in these centers is appropriate.
Very low birth weight infant; Morbidity; Mortality; Weekday birth; Weekend birth; Staffing