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Most NICU Admissions Involve Late Preterm, Older Infants

Tuesday, December 11, 2018   (0 Comments)
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From Research Done at Hospitals Within the Vermont Oxford Network...

Most NICU Admissions Involve Late Preterm, Older Infants

Study Rundown: A recent increase in NICU admissions for larger and more mature infants has been noted, but there is limited data on the clinical characteristics of this population. Among many potential complications, overuse of NICU admissions carries the risk of iatrogenic infection, acute familial stress, and disruption of breastfeeding. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate the characteristics of admissions for infants of all gestational ages (GAs) across a variety of NICUs affiliated with the Vermont Oxford Network (VON). Results showed that infants ≥ 34 weeks’ GA comprised a large proportion of NICU admissions, accounting for the majority of admissions and over half of all hospitalized days. However, only 15% of these infants were considered to be high acuity, which was defined as death, intubation with assisted ventilation ≥ 4 hours, early bacterial sepsis, major surgery requiring anesthesia, transport to another center for other surgical/medical interventions, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or a 5-minute Apgar score of <4. Additionally, 10% of infants ≥ 34 weeks’ GA had short admissions ≤ 3 days. Limitations included a narrow definition of acuity and use of a convenience sample. For clinicians, the variation in NICU admissions indicates a need for further research on the characteristics of NICU admissions to help generate evidence-based guidelines for appropriate NICU use.

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