Urban Infants Hospitalized More Frequently, Study Finds

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Urban Infants Hospitalized More Frequently, Study Finds


Byline: Drew Josepph San Francisco Chronicle

California infants from rural counties are less likely to be admitted to hospitals than infants from urban counties and spend fewer days in the hospital when they are hospitalized, according to a new study.

But despite the variance in hospitalizations, there was no significant difference in mortality rates between rural and urban infants, the study found.

The study, by two researchers from Pennsylvania, focused on California because of the availability of records and its geographic diversity. The authors looked at California infants during the first year of life from 1993 to 2005, or more than 6.4 million infants.

Recently published in Pediatrics, the study found that 9.8 percent of infants in large urban counties were admitted to hospitals in their first year of life compared with 8.9 percent of infants in small rural counties.

If urban infants were hospitalized at the same rate as rural infants, there would have been 46,000 fewer hospitalized infants over the time frame, researchers found. The increase in hospitalizations impacts not only the families of the infants, but also could have cost effects for the state, said Dr. Scott Lorch, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Urban infants also spent more time in the hospital after they were admitted. The study found there were 474 days spent in the hospital for every 1,000 infants in large urban counties, compared to 370 hospital days for infants from rural counties. The study proposed several possible contributing factors.

Despite the variance in hospitalization rates and length of stay, the study found no difference in infant mortality between rural and urban counties. And infants in rural parts of the state were readmitted less frequently than their counterparts in and near cities. …

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