“Infants diagnosed with drug withdrawal symptoms at birth, also known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), are nearly 2.5 times as likely to be readmitted to the hospital in the first month after being discharged compared with full-term infants born without complications, according to new Vanderbilt research released in the journal Hospital Pediatrics.
Compared to other infants, those with drug withdrawal are more likely to experience respiratory complications, feeding difficulty and seizures, and be born with low birth-weight.
The study, Risk of Hospital Readmission Among Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, is the most recent in an ongoing series of studies by Vanderbilt researchers that delve into the far-reaching implications, short-term and long-term, of drug exposure and withdrawal in newborns. Their previous research showed rates of NAS grew by nearly fivefold in the past decade across the United States. Still, little is known about infants with NAS after their initial hospitalization following birth.
“The recent rise of neonatal abstinence syndrome led to efforts in many hospital systems to improve hospital care being delivered to infants with the syndrome. Our findings suggest that these improvements need to extend beyond the initial birth hospitalization to ensure a safe discharge home,” said lead investigator Stephen Patrick, M.D., MPH, M.S., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy in the Division of Neonatology with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.”
Source: Vanderbilt University – October 1, 2015