Aim: This study audits the activity of the neonatal air transport team in Norway's two northernmost counties.
Methods: Data on all air transports to or from the regional Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Unit within a 10-year period were collected.
Results: Two hundred and thirty-eight acute transports were conducted during the study period; 169 referrals to the NICU and 69 transfers to national surgical and cardiac centres. Only 13 very low birth weight infants were transported; the in utero transport rate was 95% for this patient population. The adjusted risk of death and/or intracranial haemorrhage for outborn very low birth weight infants was five-fold increased compared to those not transported postnatally. Babies with congenital heart disease comprised the one-fourth of all transports. The long-term mortality was 14% for the whole study population, and 29% for infants with congenital heart disease. Only seven deaths (3.2%) were defined as being transport-related; death during or within 24 h after transport. However, preventable complications like temperature instability, hypoglycaemia and hypo-/hypercapnia occurred in 10–20% of all transports.
Conclusion: The transport related mortality was low in this study, however very low birth weight infants and infants with major congenital heart disease showed a relatively poor outcome.