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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Babies Born With NAS More Likely to Be Readmitted

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has become a common occurrence, an insidious byproduct of the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. Expectant mothers who use opioid narcotics put their baby at risk of NAS, a disorder which commonly requires lengthy hospital stays after birth. NAS occurs when a baby goes through withdrawal from the drugs the mother used throughout the pregnancy. What’s more, babies born with NAS are at a much greater risk of being readmitted to the hospital after discharge than newborns without the condition, HealthDay reports. The findings come from researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

The researchers report that babies born with NAS can experience:
  • Breathing Problems
  • Feeding Problems
  • Seizures
  • Low Birth Weight
The study involved data from more than 750,000 births in New York state between 2006 and 2009, according to the article. Of the more than 1,600 babies born with NAS, they were nearly 2.5 times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within one month after birth than babies without NAS.

“The recent rise of neonatal abstinence syndrome led to efforts in many hospital systems to improve hospital care being delivered to infants with the syndrome. Our findings suggest that these improvements need to extend beyond the initial birth hospitalization to ensure a safe discharge home,” said lead investigator Stephen Patrick, M.D., MPH, M.S., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy in the Division of Neonatology with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, in a news release.

“As state and federal policymakers work toward strategies to improve outcomes for women with substance use disorder and their infants, it will be important to ensure that families are supported during the critical transition from hospital to home to limit the risk of hospital readmission. The findings of our study suggest that some families may benefit from additional post-discharge resources.”

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