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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996 Mar;150(3):260-2.

Postconceptional age of surviving preterm low-birth-weight infants at hospital discharge.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Prediction of the duration of hospital stay of preterm, low-birth-weight infants currently requires inconvenient referral to published tables.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether postconceptional age (gestational age plus chronologic age) could serve as a useful clinical marker for the more convenient prediction of individual durations of hospital stay.

DESIGN:

Case series.

SETTING:

Regional military teaching medical center with level III obstetric and neonatal services.

PATIENTS:

Nine hundred sixty surviving preterm, low-birth-weight infants in the neonatal intensive care unit.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

The strength of the relationship of birth weight to postconceptional age at the time of discharge was tested by analysis of variance.

RESULTS:

Postconceptional age at the time of hospital discharge varied in a highly predictable manner with birth weight (P<.001). The mean and variance were greatest for infants with very low birth weights and decreased with increasing birth weight. Postconceptional age at the time of discharge reached a minimum of 36.0 +/- 1.4 weeks (mean +/- SD) for infants with birth weights of 1750 to 2240 g.

CONCLUSIONS:

Most preterm, low-birth-weight infants meet current eligibility criteria for hospital discharge at a postconceptional age of 35 to 37 weeks. This level of maturity is sufficiently predictive to serve as a convenient, easy-to-remember clinical marker for expected durations of hospital stay. For infants with birth weights of less than 1000 g, discharge at a post-conceptional age of 37 to 42 weeks is a more realistic expectation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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