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Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2010 Oct;40(9):218-33. doi: 10.1016/j.cppeds.2010.07.005.

Clinical issues in the management of late preterm infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.


Prematurity is defined as birth before 37 weeks of gestation and is the major determinant of morbidity and mortality in newborns. The gestational ages known as near term or late preterm represent about 75% of preterm births and are the fastest growing subgroups of premature infants. These infants range in gestational age from 34 0/7 to 36 6/7 weeks and are at greater risk of morbidity, such as respiratory complications, temperature instability, hypoglycemia, kernicterus, feeding problems, neonatal intensive care unit admissions, and adverse neurological sequelae when compared with term infants. Long-term neurological and school-age outcomes of late preterm infants are concerns of major public health importance because even a minor increase in the rate of neurological disability and scholastic failure in this group can have a huge impact on the health care and educational systems. There is an urgent need to educate health care providers and parents about the vulnerability of late preterm infants, who are in need of diligent monitoring and care during the initial hospital stay and a comprehensive follow-up plan for post neonatal and long-term evaluations. Clinicians involved in the day-to-day care of late preterm infants, as well as those developing guidelines and recommendations, would benefit from having a clear understanding of the potential differences in risks faced by these infants, compared with their more mature counterparts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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