Aims: A multisite study of term and near term infants readmitted in the first two weeks of life to 9 New York City area hospitals in 1995 was conducted to evaluate factors related to readmission, including length of newborn stay.
Results: Of the 30,884 infants born at the 9 study hospitals 391 newborns were readmitted. The major admission diagnoses were infection, 40.7%, hyperbilirubinemia, 39.1%, and feeding and/or gastrointestinal problems, 10.5%. In the first week, 65.1% of readmissions were for hyperbilirubinemia and 19.1% were for infection or suspected sepsis. In the second week, 67.8% of readmissions were for infection and 7.6% were for hyperbilirubinemia. Hyperbilirubinemia was the most frequent diagnosis for White and Asian infants, while infection was most frequent for African-American and Hispanic infants. Age at readmission was younger and the interval from discharge was shorter for infants with hyperbilirubinemia. Abnormalities which should have precluded early discharge included feeding difficulties, cyanotic congenital heart defects, hemolytic disease of the newborn, early jaundice or early high bilirubin levels.
Conclusion: Attention to identification of infants at risk and programs such as lactation counseling and universal screening for bilirubin (with appropriate interpretation) prior to discharge could have reduced the necessity for readmission regardless of the newborn length of stay.