Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Preterm Infant Mortality and Severe Morbidity: A Population-Based Study.Neonatology. 2018; 113(1):44-54.N
Disparities exist in the rates of preterm birth and infant mortality across different racial/ethnic groups. However, only a few studies have examined the impact of race/ethnicity on the outcomes of premature infants.
To report the rates of mortality and severe neonatal morbidity among multiple gestational age (GA) groups stratified by race/ethnicity.
A retrospective cohort study utilizing linked birth certificate, hospital discharge, readmission, and death records up to 1 year of life. Live-born infants ≤36 weeks born in the period 2007-2012 were included. Maternal self-identified race/ethnicity, as recorded on the birth certificate, was used. ICD-9 diagnostic and procedure codes captured neonatal morbidities (intraventricular hemorrhage, retinopathy of prematurity, periventricular leukomalacia, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and necrotizing enterocolitis). Multiple logistic regression was performed to evaluate the impact of race/ethnicity on mortality and morbidity, adjusting for GA, birth weight, sex, and multiple gestation.
Our cohort totaled 245,242 preterm infants; 26% were white, 46% Hispanic, 8% black, and 12% Asian. At 22-25 weeks, black infants were less likely to die than white infants (odds ratio [OR] 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.62-0.94). However, black infants born at 32-34 weeks (OR 1.64; 95% CI 1.15-2.32) or 35-36 weeks (OR 1.57; 95% CI 1.00-2.24) were more likely to die. Hispanic infants born at 35-36 weeks were less likely to die than white infants (OR 0.66; 95% CI 0.50-0.87). Racial disparities at different GAs were also detected for severe morbidities.
The impact of race/ethnicity on mortality and severe morbidity varied across GA categories in preterm infants. Disparities persisted even after adjusting for important potential confounders.