Hyaline membrane disease is underreported in a linked birth-infant death certificate database

Am J Public Health. 1998 Sep;88(9):1387-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.9.1387.


Objective: This study compared the Missouri State Department of Health linked birth-infant death certificate database and medical records with respect to recording hyaline membrane disease in very low-birth-weight infants.

Methods: We reviewed the records for all 976 infants weighing 500 to 1500 g who were born to St. Louis, Mo, residents in 1989, 1991, and 1992.

Results: Eighteen percent of the birth certificates and 54% of the medical records documented hyaline membrane disease, resulting in 34% sensitivity and 99% specificity.

Conclusions: The Missouri State Department of Health birth-infant death certificate database underestimates the incidence of hyaline membrane disease, which suggest that national statistics for the disease are also underestimated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Certificates
  • Databases, Factual
  • Death Certificates
  • Humans
  • Hyaline Membrane Disease / epidemiology*
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Medical Record Linkage
  • Missouri / epidemiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity