J Korean Med Assoc.  2016 Jul;59(7):498-505. 10.5124/jkma.2016.59.7.498.

Changes in neonatal outcomes in Korea

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Yeouido St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. sykimped@catholic.ac.kr


In Korea, the first neonatal intensive care unit was established in the early 1980s, and over the past 30 years, the advancements in the field of neonatology in Korea have led to a significant improvement in the survival of low birth weight infants. The survival rates of very low birth weight infants (VLBWIs) more than doubled, from 38.3% in the 1980s to 84.8% in 2014, and the survival rates of extremely low birth weight infants increased more than five-fold, from 12.3% in the 1980s to 69.6% currently. A comparison of VLBWI survival among countries showed improved survival rates in each birth weight group in Canada, Australia-New Zealand, and various European countries, with Japan at the top. For the first time in Korea, a nationwide prospective web-based registration system for VLBWIs, the Korean Neonatal Network (KNN), was established, and KNN operations were initiated officially on April 15, 2013 by the Korean Society of Neonatology with support from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of April 2016, clinical data for over 6,700 VLBWIs have been collected from 64 participating hospitals across the country. This network has made it possible to investigate overall survival rates as well as short- and long-term outcomes in VLBWIs. The purpose of this review was to evaluate the recent changes in neonatal outcomes in VLBWIs in Korea based on KNN data.


Infant, very low birth weight; Infant, extremely low birth weight; Mortality; Morbidity; Outcomes

MeSH Terms

Birth Weight
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.)
Infant, Extremely Low Birth Weight
Infant, Low Birth Weight
Infant, Newborn
Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
Intensive Care, Neonatal
Prospective Studies
Survival Rate
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