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04.03.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2019

World Journal of Pediatrics 3/2019

Impact of preterm birth and low birth weight on medical conditions, medication use and mortality among neonates: a prospective observational cohort study

World Journal of Pediatrics > Ausgabe 3/2019
Krishna Undela, Bashar Talal Saad Mohammed, Parthasarathi Gurumurthy, Srinivasa Murthy Doreswamy
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12519-019-00239-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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There is a paucity of studies conducted in India on neonatal outcomes of preterm birth and low birth weight. Hence, we aimed to assess the impact of preterm birth and low birth weight on medical conditions, medication use and mortality among neonates.


A prospective observational cohort study was conducted at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) over a period of 9 months. Neonates of either sex, admitted to NICU and who received at least one medication were enrolled in the study. Perinatal and demographic data, reason(s) for NICU admission, diagnoses, medications prescribed, medication-related problems, discharge status and the direct medical cost were documented and analyzed.


Four hundred and five neonates were included in the study: 60.5% were boys, 32.7% were preterm and 44.2% were born underweight. Neonatal sepsis (n = 125, 16.7%), unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia (n = 83, 11.1%) and respiratory distress syndrome (n = 62, 8.3%) were the most common medical conditions and were significantly more common among preterm and underweight neonates. Nearly half of the medications prescribed were anti-infectives for systemic use (n = 1310, 47.4%). The mean number of medications received by neonates increased from term to extremely preterm (5.2–15.0) and normal birth weight to extremely low birth weight (5.0–14.9). Mortality rate was significantly higher among extremely preterm (66.7%), and very preterm (15.2%) neonates compared to term (2.9%) neonates. The median direct medical cost for NICU admission was INR 21,430 (USD 331).


Medical conditions, medications prescribed and mortality rate were significantly higher among preterm and underweight neonates admitted to NICU.

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