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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010 Nov 12;59(44):1444-7.

Neonatal intensive-care unit admission of infants with very low birth weight --- 19 States, 2006.


Neonatal mortality is disproportionately common among infants with very low birth weight (VLBW) (<1,500 g [3.3 lbs]). In 2006, the mortality rate among infants with VLBW was 240.4 per 1,000 live births. Because neonatal intensive care has been shown to reduce mortality among infants with VLBW, current standards call for neonatal intensive-care for all infants with VLBW; however, the proportion of infants with VLBW who are admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is not known, nor are the predictors for NICU admission. To estimate the prevalence of admission to NICUs among infants with VLBW and assess factors predicting admission, CDC analyzed birth data from 2006 for 19 states. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which found that overall, 77.3% of infants with VLBW were admitted to NICUs (range: 63.7% in California to 93.4% in North Dakota). Among infants with VLBW born to Hispanic mothers, 71.8% were admitted to NICUs, compared with 79.5% of those with non-Hispanic black mothers and 80.5% of those with non-Hispanic white mothers. Multivariate analysis of the data indicated that preterm delivery, multiple births, and cesarean delivery all were independently associated with greater prevalence of NICU admission among infants with VLBW. Wide variation was observed among states in the prevalence of NICU admission of infants with VLBW; these state data should be assessed further, and barriers to NICU admission should be identified and addressed.

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