Neonatal neurodevelopmental follow-up clinic provides continued surveillance and assessment of high-risk premature infants. We hypothesized that attrition is associated with race and social factors.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of neonates born at 26-32 weeks gestation who were admitted to a level IV neonatal intensive care unit. Maternal and neonatal characteristics and follow-up attendance were collected. Statistical analysis was performed with significance set at p value < 0.05.
In total, 237 neonates met study criteria. There was a 62% loss to follow-up over 2 years. Factors associated with loss to follow-up included older gestational age, African American race, and maternal cigarette smoking. Protective factors included older maternal age, a neonatal diagnosis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and longer hospital length of stay.
Social disparities negatively impact neonatal follow-up clinic attendance. Efforts to identify and target high-risk populations must be started during initial hospitalization before infants are lost to follow-up.