Tiniest U.S. preemies more likely to end up in lower-quality NICU…
[Reuters Health, 3/25/19] In a large national study that included nearly 90 percent of all preterm and low-birth-weight babies born in the U.S. in a recent three-year period, researchers found that black infants were more likely than white infants to receive care in a lower-scoring neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The hospital’s quality of care is directly related to deaths and complications in newborns,
said study coauthor Erika Edwards of the University of Vermont. Complications commonly seen in premature babies can have lifelong consequences. For example, she said, “Chronic lung disease is related to asthma which is already an issue in minority populations. And brain injury can cause developmental delays.”
To look more closely at the possibility that race and/or ethnicity play a role in where the most fragile infants got care and whether some sort of segregation was going on in NICUs across the nation, Edwards and her colleagues turned to the Vermont Oxford Network, an organization that collects data from hospital NICUs worldwide. Edwards is also director of data science for the network.
Network members contribute standardized data on all infants born after only 22 to 29 weeks of pregnancy or weighing 401 g to 1500 g (about 14 oz to about 3 lb.)
As reported in JAMA Pediatrics, the researchers focused on 134,871 infants born from January 2014 to December 2016. Some were born at hospitals with NICUs; others had to be transferred to these more sophisticated facilities.
NICU quality was determined based on nine factors,
such as infant mortality during birth hospitalization, health-care associated bacterial or fungal infection, a timely eye exam, and chronic lung disease………
Read the Full Article at: Reuters Health
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