Objective: To determine whether the hospital readmission rate of infants born prematurely was greatest in those whose birth weight was less than 750 g.
Design: A prospective cohort study.
Setting: Regional neonatal intensive care unit.
Patients: Consecutive very-low-birth-weight (< 1500 g) infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit; infants with congenital abnormalities were excluded. Two-year follow-up was completed for 109 (90.8%) of these patients.
Measurements/main results: Following discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit, infants were seen at 6-month intervals at which time a detailed history was taken and examinations were performed. Hospital admissions were documented and confirmed from the medical records. Infants with birth weights of less than 750 g and those of very-low gestational age (< or = 28 weeks) made up the greatest number of admissions and had the longest hospital stays. In the first year of life, the duration of stay was inversely related to birth weight.
Conclusion: Increased survival of extremely low-birth-weight infants has important implications for resource allocation of pediatric beds.