Process and Outcome Measures for Infants Born Moderate and Late Preterm in Tertiary Canadian Neonatal Intensive Care Units

J Pediatr. 2024 Jun:269:113976. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2024.113976. Epub 2024 Feb 23.


Objective: To describe the prevalence of and between-center variations in care practices and clinical outcomes of moderate and late preterm infants (MLPIs) admitted to tertiary Canadian neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

Study design: This was a retrospective cohort study including infants born at 320/7 through 366/7 weeks of gestation and admitted to 25 NICUs participating in the Canadian Neonatal Network between 2015 and 2020. Patient characteristics, process measures represented by care practices, and outcome measures represented by clinical in-hospital and discharge outcomes were reported by gestational age weeks. NICUs were compared using indirect standardization after adjustment for patient characteristics.

Results: Among 25 669 infants (17% of MLPIs born in Canada during the study period) included, 45% received deferred cord clamping, 7% had admission hypothermia, 47% received noninvasive respiratory support, 11% received mechanical ventilation, 8% received surfactant, 40% received antibiotics in the first 3 days, 4% did not receive feeding in the first 2 days, and 77% had vascular access. Mortality, early-onset sepsis, late-onset sepsis, or necrotizing enterocolitis occurred in <1% of the study cohort. Median (IQR) length of stay was 14 (9-21) days among infants discharged home from the admission hospital and 5 (3-9) days among infants transferred to community hospitals. Among infants discharged home, 33% were discharged on exclusive breastmilk and 75% on any breastmilk. There were significant variations between NICUs in all process and outcome measures.

Conclusions: Care practices and outcomes of MLPIs varied significantly between Canadian NICUs. Standardization of process and outcome quality measures for this population will enable benchmarking and research, facilitating systemwide improvements.

Keywords: newborn; quality care; resource use.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / epidemiology
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Male
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tertiary Care Centers