English summary: INCIDENCE AND CASE-FATALITY RATE OF NEONATAL RESPIRATORY DISTRESS SYNDROME FROM THE 1970S TO THE 2000S: A POPULATION-BASED ANALYSIS IN THE OULU UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL REGION
Despite the remarkable progress made in perinatal and neonatal care, respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) remains a major problem among preterm infants.
The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the overall trends in the incidence and neonatal mortality of RDS between the years 1975 and 2004 in a neonatal centre managing all cases of RDS in its catchment area.
During 1975-2004, a total of 1439 infants with RDS were identified among the 181 380 live-born infants, accounting for an overall incidence of RDS of 7.9/1000 live births. The overall incidence of RDS did not show significant changes during the 30 years, but the birth-weight-specific incidences showed a significant shift towards the smallest and most premature infants. The RDS case fatality rate decreased from 24% during the years 1975-79 to 2% during the years 2000-04.
We believe that the progress in the prevention and management of RDS indicates an overall progress in neonatal care during the past 30 years. Despite the currently very low neonatal mortality rate among RDS infants, the high incidence of chronic pulmonary sequelae remains a challenge for the future.