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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 146-151

Length of postnatal hospital stay in healthy newborns and re-hospitalization following early discharge

Department of Pediatrics, Makassed General Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon

Correspondence Address:
Rawad Farhat
Department of Pediatrics, Makassed General Hospital, Beirut
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: The length of postnatal hospital stay for healthy newborns remains controversial. Proponents of early hospital discharge claim that it is safe, decreases the risk of iatrogenic infection, promotes family bonding and attachment, and reduces hospitalization care and patient costs. Disadvantages include delayed breastfeeding, manifestation of new conditions affecting newborns after early discharge, and improper discharge planning. Aim : The main aim of the study was to compare early discharge versus late discharge with the risk of readmission. Patients and Methods : The length of hospital stay was recorded for all healthy newborns and infants and followed by investigation of any medical problem arising after discharge. Factors associated with readmission to the hospital were analyzed by Chi square and Mantel-Haenszel Common Odds Ratio Estimate (OR) with Confidence Limits (CL). Results : A total of 478 babies were enrolled, of which 307 were discharged ≤ 48 hours. The overall length of stay was 39 hours (1.6 days). Thirty-eight (7.9%) newborns were re-hospitalized, with the most common cause being neonatal jaundice. Factors associated with readmission for jaundice were breastfeeding (OR: 10.3 CL3.10to32.20) and length of stay ≤ 48 hours (OR: 13.8, CL4.04 to 47.05). Conclusion : Hospital discharge at any time ≤ 48 hours significantly increases the risk for readmission as well as the risk for readmission due to hyperbilirubinemia. Planning and implementing a structured program for follow up of infants who are discharged ≤ 48 hours are vital in order to decrease the risk for readmission, morbidity and neonatal mortality.

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