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Pediatr Clin North Am. 2009 Jun;56(3):565-77, Table of Contents. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2009.03.009.

Health issues of the late preterm infant.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


"Late preterm" birth is not such an unusual occurrence; in fact these infants were the first group of premature infants who pediatricians learned to treat, and did so with such remarkable success that physicians no longer consider them to be of high risk. So, why the sudden interest in this group? There is now enough evidence that this population is not as benign as previously thought. They have increased mortality when compared to term infants and are at increased risk for complications including transient tachypnea of newborn (TTN), respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN), respiratory failure, temperature instability, jaundice, feeding difficulties and prolonged neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stay. Evidence is currently emerging that late preterm infants make up a majority of preterm births, take up significant resources, have increased mortality/morbidity, and may even have long-term neurodevelopmental consequences secondary to their late prematurity.

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