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Reducing Infant Mortality Rates Using the Perinatal Periods of Risk Model


  • Paulette G. Burns, R.N., Ph.D., Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas.

* Paulette G. Burns, Texas Christian University, TCU Box 298620, 2800 University Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76129. E-mail:


Abstract  Despite decreases in the last 50 years, infant mortality rates in the United States remain higher than in other industrialized countries. Using overall infant mortality rates to determine the effectiveness of interventions does not help communities focus on particular underlying factors contributing to static, and sometimes increasing, community rates. This study was designed to determine and rank contributing factors to fetal-infant mortality in a specific community using the Perinatal Periods of Risk (PPOR) model. The PPOR model was used to map fetal-infant mortality for 1995 to 1998 in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Healthy Start Program as compared to traditional calculation methods. The overall fetal-infant mortality rate using the PPOR model was 12.7 compared to 7.11 calculated using the traditional method. The maternal health cell rate was 5.4, maternal care cell rate was 2.9, newborn care cell was 1.9 compared to a 4.1 neonatal death rate calculated using the traditional method, and the infant health cell was 2.4 compared to a 2.9 postneonatal rate calculated using the traditional method. Because the highest infant mortality was in the maternal health cell, intervention strategies were designed to promote the health of women prior to and between pregnancies. The PPOR model was helpful in targeting interventions to reduce fetal-infant mortality based on the prioritization of contributing factors.