Individual Study / EPICE-PT

EPICE-PT - Effective Perinatal Intensive Care in Europe

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Datasets -
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The EPICE project explored the use of evidence based practices for the care of very preterm infants in 19 regions from 11 EU Member States. These regions cover more than 750000 deliveries per year, 550 units of obstetrics, 250 units of neonatology and about 10,000 very preterm infants.
Very preterm infants born before 32 weeks of gestation represent 1 to 2% of all births; these infants face higher risks of mortality and long-term neurodevelopmental impairment than infants born at term.

The EPICE project aimed to improve the survival and long-term health of preterm infants by ensuring that medical knowledge is translated into effective perinatal care. Promoting the use of evidence-based guidelines is a promising and cost-effective approach for improving care and for optimizing health outcomes for these infants. Longer term follow up of this cohort is continuing in the SHIPS study.



Investigators Contacts
  • Henrique Barros
    Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (ISPUP)
  • Julia Doetsch
    Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (ISPUP)


Start Year
Follow Up Is Ongoing
Year of Most Recent Data Collection
New Data Collection planned?
EPICE: European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007‐2013) Grant Number: 259882
SHIPS: European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2015‐2018). Grant Number: 633724


Access to external researchers or third parties neither provided nor foreseen.

Supplementary Information

Perinatal data and some follow-up data were collected in 10 of the regions in 2003 as part of the MOSAIC study forming the basis for this study.

Study Design

Study design
Number of Data Collection Events
Number of very preterm (VPT) and/or very low birthweight (VLBW) births included in cohort (live & still births)
Supplementary information about number of participants
724 livebirths of 974 preterm births.
607 discharged alive
544 consented for follow up.

Marker Paper

Barros, H., et. al. Effective perinatal intensive care in europe (EPICE): Descrição do Projeto e primeiros resultados em Portugal. Arquivos de Medicina, 28(6), 183-190



The EPICE-PT cohort comprised all live and still born VPT infants in two regions of Portugal. All public maternity and neonatal intensive care units in Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region (8 units) and Northern Region (9 units), plus 3 private units within the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region were included. Units with 10 or more admissions of very preterm newborns, in the first 48 hours postpartum were eligible to take part in the study.
Selection Criteria
  • Portugal
Geographical Area
Northern Region, Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region
VPT/VLBW Group Inclusion Criteria
All live and still births between 22 + 0 and 31 + 6 weeks of gestation.
Birth occurred between 1st June 2011 and 31st May 2012.
Control Group Inclusion Criteria
VPT/VLBW Group Exclusion Criteria
Control Group Exclusion Criteria
Data Collection Events
# Name Description Start End
0 Perinatal Assessment Perinatal data were collected from obstetric and neonatal medical records using a pretested standardised questionnaire as part of the main EPICE study.
Maternal and infant health ...
2011 2012
1 1 Year Follow up The 1 year data collection involved a Portuguese sub-cohort of the EPICE population consisting of all infants discharged alive from NICU whose parents provided informed consent to take part in the ... 2012 2013
2 2 Year Follow Up EPICE participants were followed up at 2 years of age via a postal questionnaire completed by parents. This follow up involved all EPICE regions.

Data were collected on neurodevelopment ...
2013 2014
3 3 Year Follow Up At 3 years of age, participants from the two Portuguese regions enrolled in the EPICE cohort were followed up.

A structured questionnaire was completed by the parents of the participant ...
2014 2015
4 4 Year Follow Up At 4 years of age, participants from the two Portuguese regions enrolled in the EPICE cohort were followed up. The parent/guardian of the participant completed a questionnaire via a telephone ... 2015 2016
5 5 Year Follow Up The full EPICE cohort was assessed as part of the Screening to Improve Health in Very Preterm Infants in Europe (SHIPS) research project, which builds on EPICE and continues the follow up of the ... 2016 2019