Mortality rates for preterm infants has dropped, and a majority of this can be attributed to fewer deaths from respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).

“Our study shows that we’ve continued to make incremental steps in survival,” Ravi M. Patel, MD, said in a phone interview with MedPage Today. “Those increments are due to reductions in respiratory distress syndrome, but the mortality rates are still very high.”

“Respiratory distress syndrome and immaturity were still the two major causes of death among all the infants, but we think that the reason babies died from necrotizing enterocolitis is because they’re surviving longer,” he said. “But we don’t know what’s driving changes over time.”