The incidence of preterm birth is increasing, and so are the complications associated with it. In 2014, approximately 11% of all births worldwide were preterm births. However, the complications of preterm birth indicated with hospital admissions during childhood are unknown. This study aims to draw associations between gestational age and the incidence of hospital admission during childhood.
This population-based, record-linkage cohort study included a total of 1,018,136 live, singleton births. The primary outcome of the study was all inpatient hospital admissions and death from birth to 10 years of age. The main cause of admission was the secondary outcome.
A total of 1,315,338 admissions were recorded, 831,729 (63%) of which were emergency admissions, and 525,039 (52%) were admitted during the study period. The findings suggested that hospital admissions were strongly associated with gestational age at birth. Compared with children born at full-term (40 weeks), those born extremely preterm (<28 weeks) had the highest rate of hospitalization (Rate ration 4.92). The rate of hospital admissions reduced as the gestational rate increased. Also, the risk of hospital admission was highest in the first year after birth and reduced as the age increased.
The research concluded that lower gestational age was associated with a higher risk of hospital admissions during childhood.