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Early hospital discharge of newborn infants was associated with increased risk of hospital readmission during the first 28 days of life

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Objective

To determine whether early discharge of newborn infants from hospital is associated with increased risk of readmission during the first 28 days of life.

Design

Population based, case control study, with linkage of records from the Washington State Birth Events Record Database and the Comprehensive Hospital Abstract Reporting System.

Setting

State of Washington, USA.

Participants

5595 case patients (infants readmitted to hospital during the first month of life) and 23 439 control infants (no readmission during the first month of life and matched for year of birth) were identified from a cohort of 310 578 births in Washington state between 1991 and 1994. Exclusion criteria were gestational age <36 weeks, multiple births, caesarean delivery, transfer to another hospital, or serious medical conditions including respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, sepsis, meconium aspiration, and some rare conditions such as extrophy of the bladder or double outlet right ventricle.

Assessment of risk factors

Length of hospital stay at birth was defined as early discharge (discharged within 30 h of birth) and later discharge (discharged 30–78 h after birth).

Main outcome measure

Hospital readmission at 7, 14, and 28 days after birth.

Main results

4971 newborn infants (17%) were …

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