Adverse Outcomes Do Not Stop at Discharge: Post-NICU Health Care Use by Prematurely Born Infants

  • Scott A. LorchEmail author
  • Shawna Calhoun
Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM)


The health care needs of prematurely born infants do not stop upon discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Costs and resource utilization by preterm, low birth weight infants (those at the highest risk of readmission) are substantially higher than infants born at term, with an estimated 35 % of all health care costs in the first year of life stemming from the care of the infants born at a birth weight <1500 g. However, there are limited data to help counsel families about the health care use of their prematurely born infant after the child is discharged from the NICU, and how these expectations may change based on the child’s medical conditions and the family’s social and economic factors. This chapter will present a summary of the postdischarge health care use of prematurely born infants, including future hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and outpatient health care use including medications and nonwell visits. Each section will present information on the prevalence of each outcome and risk factors for differences in rates based on specific medical risk factors. Finally, we will end with a conceptual framework for increased health care use in these infants and directions for future research in the field.


Readmission (or Hospitalization) Very low birth weight infant Bronchopulmonary dysplasia Emergency department visits Social determinants of health Medication use 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Outcomes Research, The Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Neonatology, Department of PediatricsThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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