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PAS: Rate of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Increasing

From 2004 to 2013, increase from seven to 17 cases per 1,000 admissions to NICUs

TUESDAY, April 28, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome increased from 2004 to 2013, according to research published online April 26 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from April 25 to 28 in San Diego.

Veeral N. Tolia, M.D., from the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues assessed trends in incidence and health care utilization using data from infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome from 2004 through 2013 in 299 neonatal intensive care unit (NICUs).

The researchers found that 10,327 of the 674,845 infants admitted to NICUs had neonatal abstinence syndrome. The rate of NICU admissions for neonatal abstinence syndrome increased from seven to 27 cases per 1,000 admissions from 2004 through 2013; during the same period, the median length of stay increased from 13 to 19 days (both P < 0.001). There was an increase in the total percentage of NICU days nationwide that were attributed to neonatal abstinence syndrome, from 0.6 to 4.0 percent (P < 0.001). Eight centers reported that more than 20 percent of all NICU days were attributed to care for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome in 2013.

"From 2004 through 2013, the neonatal abstinence syndrome was responsible for a substantial and growing portion of resources dedicated to critically ill neonates in NICUs nationwide," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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