OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the in-hospital consequences of prolonged respiratory support with invasive mechanical ventilation in very low birth weight infants. STUDY DESIGN: A cohort study was performed using prospectively collected data from 69 neonatal intensive care units participating in the Korean national registry. In total, 3508 very low birth weight infants born between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014 were reviewed. RESULTS: The adjusted hazard ratio for death increased significantly for infants who received mechanical ventilation for more than 2 weeks compared with those were mechanically ventilated for 7 days or less. The individual mortality rate increased after 8 weeks, reaching 50% and 60% at 14 and 16 weeks of cumulative mechanical ventilation, respectively. After adjusting for potential confounders, the cumulative duration of mechanical ventilation was associated with a clinically significant increase in the odds of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and pulmonary hypertension. Mechanical ventilation exposure for longer than 2 weeks, compared with 7 days or less, was associated with retinopathy of prematurity requiring laser coagulation and periventricular leukomalacia. The odds of abnormal auditory screening test results were significantly increased in infants who needed mechanical ventilation for more than 4 weeks. A longer cumulative duration of mechanical ventilation was associated with increased lengths of hospitalization and parenteral nutrition and a higher probability of discharge with poor achievement of physical growth. CONCLUSIONS: Although mechanical ventilation is a life-saving intervention for premature infants, these results indicate that it is associated with negative consequences when applied for prolonged periods.