Individual Study / GNN

GNN - German Neonatal Network

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The German Neonatal Network (GNN) started patient enrolment on January the 1st 2009. The network is focussed on the long-term effects of genetic, clinical and social risk factors, the influence of centre-specific treatment strategies and the support of randomized clinical trials in VLBW infants. We are planning to enrol more than 20,000 preterm infants with a birth weight below 1500 grams in our study and to follow the development of these infants during a time period of six years. The identification of genetic risk factors for preterm delivery and common diseases of preterm infants is one major focus of our project, since this topic is not covered by comparable international networks. GNN is promoting randomized clinical trials in VLBW infants and supports the distribution/appreciation of treatment strategies which are used by the most successful neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

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Investigators Contacts
  • Wolfgang Göpel
    Universität zu Lübeck
  • Tim Rönckendorf
    Universität zu Lübeck


Start Year
Follow Up Is Ongoing
Year of Most Recent Data Collection
New Data Collection planned?


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

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
15825 VLBW infants have been recruited between 2009 and 2016. Follow-up data will be available for 5000 children at age 5 (currently 2844 available).

Marker Paper

Göpel W, Herting E. Geburtshilfe/Neonatologie. Was macht das Deutsche Frühgeborenen-Netzwerk? Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 2010;70(04):328-9. De.



The German Neonatal network is a nationwide multi-centre study within 62 level 1 NICUs in Germany. All preterm infants born at less than 1500g birth weight in participating centres were eligible.
Selection Criteria
  • Germany
Geographical Area
All of Germany
VPT/VLBW Group Inclusion Criteria
Birth weight <1500g and gestational age <37 weeks admitted to NICU
Control Group Inclusion Criteria
No control group selected at birth.
VPT/VLBW Group Exclusion Criteria
Missing consent
Control Group Exclusion Criteria
Supplementary Information
Control group for 5 year follow up: Survey of Neonates in Pomerania (SNiP II) - inclusion criteria: living in certain geographical region (determined by postcode).
Control group Exclusion Criteria: Missing consent, children placed for adoption, insufficient knowledge of German language for interviews
Data Collection Events
# Name Description Start End
0 perinatal Perinatal data were collected prospectively including maternal obstetric history, conditions during pregnancy, tocolysis, antenatal steroids, antenatal antibiotics, cause of preterm birth, ... 2009 2016
1 5 Year Follow Up 2014