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Keywords:

  • chronic lung disease;
  • cohort studies;
  • follow-up studies;
  • preterm;
  • rehospitalisation

Objective: To analyse hospital readmissions to 1 year in infants <33 weeks’ gestation.

Study design: Cohort of very preterm infants born in Western Australia.

Methods: Parental social class, history of asthma, race, gestational age, birthweight, sex, severity of respiratory disease and oxygen requirement at 28 days chronic lung disease (CLD), 36 weeks and term, maternal smoking, cohabitation with siblings, breast-feeding duration and hospital readmissions were recorded prospectively.

Results: Data were available for 538 of 560 (96%) infants discharged. Eight died in the first year. Two hundred and twenty-five infants (42%) had 443 readmissions, of which 370 were medical and 73 surgical. Risk factors for medical readmission were Aboriginal race, male sex and CLD. Breast-feeding was protective. Risk factors for surgical admission were male sex, lower gestation, severe hyaline membrane disease, severe CLD and birthweight <10th centile.

Conclusions: Readmission is common after very preterm birth. Risk factors for medical and surgical admission differ with CLD being the only perinatal factor associated with both medical and surgical admission.