Objective: We sought to determine the economic costs associated with moderate and late preterm birth.
Design: An economic study was nested within a prospective cohort study.
Sample: Infants born between 32(+0) and 36(+6) weeks of gestation in the East Midlands of England. A sample of infants born at ≥37 weeks of gestation acted as controls.
Methods: Data on resource use, estimated from a National Health Service (NHS) and personal social services perspective, and separately from a societal perspective, were collected between birth and 24 months corrected age (or death), and valued in pounds sterling, at 2010-11 prices. Descriptive statistics and multivariable analyses were used to estimate the relationship between gestational age at birth and economic costs.
Main outcome measures: Cumulative resource use and economic costs over the first two years of life.
Results: Of all eligible births, 1146 (83%) preterm and 1258 (79%) term infants were recruited. Mean (standard error) total societal costs from birth to 24 months were £12 037 (£1114) and £5823 (£1232) for children born moderately preterm (32(+0) -33(+6) weeks of gestation) and late preterm (34(+0) -36(+6) weeks of gestation), respectively, compared with £2056 (£132) for children born at term. The mean societal cost difference between moderate and late preterm and term infants was £4657 (bootstrap 95% confidence interval, 95% CI £2513-6803; P < 0.001). Multivariable regressions revealed that, after controlling for clinical and sociodemographic characteristics, moderate and late preterm birth increased societal costs by £7583 (£874) and £1963 (£337), respectively, compared with birth at full term.
Conclusions: Moderate and late preterm birth is associated with significantly increased economic costs over the first 2 years of life. Our economic estimates can be used to inform budgetary and service planning by clinical decision-makers, and economic evaluations of interventions aimed at preventing moderate and late preterm birth or alleviating its adverse consequences.
Tweetable abstract: Moderate and late preterm birth is associated with increased economic costs over the first 2 years of life.
Keywords: Cost; economic; late preterm; moderately preterm; prematurity; resource use.
© 2015 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.