The full-term infant mortality rate (FTIMR) for the United States in 2010-2012 was nearly twice as high as the median rate for that of six European countries, according to Neha Bairoliya, PhD, and Günther Fink, PhD.

The United States had an FTIMR of 2.19 per 1,000 full-term live births for that 3-year period, compared with a median of 1.11 for Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, said Dr. Bairoliya of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Cambridge, Mass., and Dr. Fink of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland.

A classification system for individual states that rated FTIMR scores from poor (greater than or equal to 2.75) to excellent (greater than 1.25) put Connecticut, with a U.S.–low rate of 1.29 per 1,000 births, in the good (greater than or equal to1.25 to 1.75) category, so no state managed to join the excellent group of European countries, whose highest rate was 1.24, they reported in PLOS Medicine.

Missouri’s FTIMR of 3.77 per 1,000 was the highest among the 50 states. Along with Missouri, 12 other states were classified as poor, while 11 were considered fair (less than or equal to 2.25 to less than 2.75), 16 were average (less than or equal to 1.25 to less than 1.75), and 10 states earned a classification of good, the investigators said.

They used National Center for Health Statistics data for 7,431 deaths among 10,175,481 children born full term – defined as 37-42 weeks’ gestation – between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012. Data on European births came from the Euro-Peristat database.

Data for preterm births put the United States in a somewhat better light: For births from 32 to 36 weeks, mortality rates were 8.24 per 1,000 in the United States and 8.25 for the six European countries; for births at 24-27 weeks, the rates were 199 in the United States and 213 for the Euro six, Dr. Bairoliya and Dr. Fink said.

The investigators did not receive any specific funding for the study, and they said that they had no relevant conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Bairoliya N, Fink G. PLOS Med. 2018 Mar 20;15(3):e1002531.