Paediatrics and Child Health
Globally, prematurity accounts for 12.7% of all live births while late preterm accounts for around three-fourth (73%) of these premature births. In Pakistan, the prevalence of prematurity is approximately 18.89%. Late preterm infants often have weight and size similar to some term infants, but they are still metabolically and physiologically immature. Hence, these infants, as compared to term infants, are at a higher risk of developing medical complications, which results in higher morbidity and mortality during the birth hospitalization. We aim to determine the frequency of early complications in late preterm infants during their stay at Aga Khan Secondary-care Hospitals, Karachi.
A prospective descriptive study was conducted via the nonprobability sampling technique from March 22, 2016, to March 22, 2017, at secondary-care hospitals of The Aga Khan University Hospital; The Aga Khan Hospital for Women, Karimabad, and The Aga Khan Hospital for Women and Children, Garden. All late-preterm infants, i.e. those born between the 34 0/7 through 36 6/7 weeks gestation were included in this study and observed for 72 hours after birth for early complications, including hypothermia, sepsis, hypoglycemia, respiratory distress, and hyperbilirubinemia. Descriptive analysis was done using SPSS Version 19.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, US) and frequency and percentages were calculated.
Throughout the period of study, a total of 1696 infants were born in secondary-care hospitals, of which 86.67% (n=1470) were term and 13.3% (n=226) were preterm. Late preterm infants constituted 95.5% (n=217) of preterm births and 12.7% of all newborns delivered at study sites. Among them, respiratory distress was diagnosed in 23.5%, hyperbilirubinemia in 17.5%, hypoglycemia in 13.8%, sepsis in 9.2%, and hypothermia in 6%.
Late preterm neonates form the major subgroup of preterm infants delivered at secondary-care hospitals. They have a significant risk of morbidity and birth hospitalizations. We propose that late preterm infants, regardless of their physical dimensions, be given medical attention similar to all preterms.
Leghari, A. L.,
(2019). Frequency and early complications of late preterm infants: A descriptive analysis from two secondary-care hospitals of Karachi. Cureus, 11(9).
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_women_childhealth_paediatr/781