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Am J Perinatol. 2002 May;19(4):197-203.

Which nurseries currently care for ventilated neonates in Illinois and Wisconsin? Implications for the next generation of perinatal regionalization.

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Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


We were interested in the extent to which advances in the availability of neonatalogy expertise have provided a centrifugal impetus to perinatal care. Specifically, we wondered where infants who were sick enough to require mechanical ventilation were currently being managed. We surveyed 116 of 140 hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin that offered obstetric/newborn services in 1998-1999. The 23 Level I nurseries were consistently small, and offered virtually no "advanced" neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) technology. The 16 Level III NICUs were consistently large, offered advanced technology and personnel, and received sick infants from many hospitals in their regional network. The 77 Level II nurseries (two thirds of all hospitals with newborn services) were less consistently characterized. In general, Level II nurseries were a "spoke" (not a hub), and did not offer extracorporeal-membrane oxygenation (ECMO), nitric oxide (NO), or cardiovascular (CV) surgery. However, 19 (25%) of 77 Level II centers self-designated as "Level II+". These were significantly more likely to offer ventilators, percutaneous central venous catheters (PCVCs), total parenteral nutrition (TPN), and surgery. Fifty-three percent (18/34) of all nurseries offering mechanical ventilation self-designated as a Level II or II+, as opposed to Level III. Facile inferences about the appropriate role of Level II centers derived from decades-old data are probably unsupportable. It is time to acknowledge the distinction between the Level II nursery of the past and the newly evolving Level II+ NICUs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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