Background Near term infants are prone to more medical problems than full term infants requiring more neonatal intensive careunit (NICU) admissions .
Aim Study the impact of near term infants on the utilization of NICU beds.
Methods Retrospective collection of hospital newborn electronic database from January 2007 – December 2011.
Two groups were identified group 1 infants 37 weeks and above and group 2 near term infants 34 weeks-36+6 weeks. The following demographics collected, Birth weight (BWT), Gestational age (GA), gender, length of stay (LOS) and NICU admission.
Results The number of newborns delivered during the study period were41089. Near term infants were 3722 (9%). Mean birth weight was 3.1±0.458 kg for group 1 and 2.42±497 kg for group 2 (p 0.0001). 5835 (14%)infants required NICU admissions at birth in group 1 and 1025(28%) in group 2 (p 0.09). LOS was calculated a mean of 2.58±3.33 days in group 1 and 8.5±15.58 days in group 2 (p.0001).
Using multiple regression analysis birth weight and male gender were predictors for prolonged hospital LOS and the need for NICU admission in both groups.
Conclusion In our population near term infants were more likely to utilize NICU beds for significantly longer LOS compared to full term which increases costs and limit availability of NICU beds in our community.