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Acta Paediatr Taiwan. 2000 Nov-Dec;41(6):308-12.

Mortality, morbidity, length and cost of hospitalization in very-low-birth-weight infants in the era of National Health Insurance in Taiwan: a medical center's experience.

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Department of Pediatrics, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, No. 138, Sheng Li Road, Tainan 704, Taiwan.


The impact of implementation of the National Health Insurance on the outcome, cost, and length of hospitalization of very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants is not clear in Taiwan. These data are important for the planning of medical care and regionalization in this area. This study was an attempt to examine these questions. We retrospectively collected mortality, morbidity, and length and cost of hospitalization data of VLBW (BW < 1500 g) infants between March 1995 and February 1998. There were totally 162 patients enrolled. The overall mortality rate was 21.6%; the birth weight (BW)-specific mortality rate was 72%, 31%, 19%, and 3% for infants with BWs of < 750 g, 750-999 g, 1000-1249 g, and 1250-1499 g, respectively. The incidence of morbidities were: respiratory distress syndrome (74%), patent ductus arteriosus (36%), necrotizing enterocolitis (9%), sepsis (42%), intraventricular hemorrhage (15%), retinopathy of prematurity (31%), failure to pass auditory brainstem response (ABR) (34%), and chronic lung disease (17%). The average length of hospitalization was 67.2 days, and the cost per infant was 62 x 10(4) NT dollars; 108 +/- 38 days, 73 +/- 32 x 10(4) NT dollars if BW < 750 g; 94 +/- 15 days, 99 +/- 35 x 10(4) NT dollars if BW 750-999 g; 66 +/- 23 days, 64 +/- 36 x 10(4) NT dollars if BW 1000-1249 g; and 43 +/- 14 days, 39 +/- 37 x 10(4) NT dollars if BW 1250-1499 g. In conclusion, VLBW infants are associated with high mortality and morbidity rates. They have long lengths and high costs of hospitalization, and therefore deserve attention in the implementation of the National Health Insurance and regionalization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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