Dutch neonatologists have adopted a more interventionist approach to neonatal care

Jan F. Koper*, Arend F. Bos, Annie Janvier, A. A. Eduard Verhagen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    AimThis study investigated whether continuous improvements to neonatal care and the legalisation of newborn euthanasia in 2005 had changed end-of-life decisions by Dutch neonatologists.

    MethodsWe carried out a retrospective study of foetuses and neonates of more than 22weeks' gestation that died in the delivery room or in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of a tertiary referral hospital in the Netherlands, comparing end-of-life decisions and mortality in 2001-2003 and 2008-2010, before and after euthanasia legislation was introduced.

    ResultsIn 2008-2010, there were more deaths in the delivery room due to termination of pregnancy than in 2001-2003 (17% versus 29%, p=0.031), and fewer infants received comfort medication (12% versus 20%, p=0.078). The main mode of death in the NICU was the withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy. The number of days that infants lived increased significantly between 2001-2003 (11.5days) and 2008-2010 (18.4days, p

    ConclusionTerminations increased after changes in healthcare regulations. Modes of death in the NICU remained similar over 10years. The increased duration of NICU treatment before dying suggests a more interventionist approach to treatment in 2008-2010.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)888-893
    Number of pages6
    JournalActa Paediatrica
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sep-2015


    • Delivery room
    • End-of-life decisions
    • Ethics
    • Modes of death
    • Neonatal intensive care unit
    • UNIT
    • DIE

    Cite this