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Glob Pediatr Health. 2019 Jul 25;6:2333794X19865447. doi: 10.1177/2333794X19865447. eCollection 2019.

Variability in Hospital Admission Rates for Neonates With Fever in North Carolina.

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


Background. Despite multiple guidelines recommending admission, there is significant variation among emergency departments (EDs) regarding disposition of neonates presenting with fever. We performed a statewide epidemiologic analysis to identify characteristics that may influence patient disposition in such cases within North Carolina. Methods. This study is a retrospective cohort study of infants 1 to 28 days old with a diagnosis of fever presenting to North Carolina EDs from October 1, 2010, to September 30, 2015, using data from the NC DETECT (North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool) database. We analyzed various patient epidemiology characteristics and their associations with patients being admitted or discharged from the emergency room setting. Results. Of 2745 unique patient visits for neonatal fever, 1173 (42.7%) were discharged from the ED, while 1572 (57.3%) were either admitted or transferred for presumed admission. Age, sex, region within North Carolina, and the presence of a pediatric service did not significantly influence disposition. An abnormal documented ED temperature was associated with higher likelihood of admission (P < .01). The size of the hospital was also found to be significant when comparing large with small hospitals (P < .01). Government-funded insurance was associated with lower likelihood of admission (P < .01). Conclusions. A high number of neonates diagnosed with fever were discharged home, inconsistent with current recommendations. An association with a government-funded insurance represents a possible health care disparity. Further studies are warranted to further understand these variations in practice.


emergency; fever; neonates

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Conflicting Interests: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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