Hospital admissions and gestational age at birth: 18 years of follow up in Western Australia.
OBJECTIVE To investigate differences by gestational age in emergency department visits and re-hospitalizations during the three years following childbirth discharge. METHODS We performed a historical cohort study in Lazio Region, Italy, for infants born in 2007-2008 to resident mothers. Health administrative data were used. Analysis was performed by multinomial logistic regression. RESULTS Of 90 545 infants, more than 50% had at least one emergency department visit, and 18.8% at least one re-hospitalization. After the exclusion of infants with congenital anomalies, relative risk ratios of re-hospitalization and, to a lesser extent, of emergency department visits increased by decreasing gestational age; the two events were also higher for mothers ≤35 years of age, with low education and of Italian nationality. Residency outside the metropolitan area was associated with an increased risk of re-hospitalization and a decreased risk of emergency department visits. CONCLUSION During the three years following childbirth discharge, re-hospitalizations and, to a lesser extent, emergency department use are inversely related to gestational age at birth; socio-demographic factors have an effect on the risk of infant use of hospital resources independent of gestational age.