Association of gestational age and growth measures at birth with infection-related admissions to hospital throughout childhood: a population-based, data-linkage study from Western Australia

J.E. Miller, Geoffrey C. Hammond, Tobias Strunk, Hannah C. Moore, Helen Leonard, Kim W. Carter, Z. Bhutta, Fiona Stanley, Nicholas De Klerk, D.P. Burgner

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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd
Background Reduced gestational age and low birthweight are associated with an increased risk of neonatal infections. However, the long-term risk of infection, especially in late preterm infants or those at near-normal birthweight, is unknown. We estimated whether rates of infection-related admissions to hospital for children in Western Australia were associated with age, gestational age, birthweight, and birth length. Methods We did a population-based, data-linkage study using total-linked, registry data from the Western Australia Birth Register of all liveborn, non-Indigenous Australian singleton births recorded from Jan 1, 1980, to Dec 31, 2010. We followed up individuals from birth-related hospital discharge to age 18 years, death, or end of 2010, and linked to data about subsequent admissions to hospital or death registrations. Gestational age was assessed from both the last menstrual period and from estimates based on ultrasonography. We categorised birthweight by 500 g bands and birth length by 5 cm bands, and approximated the reference ranges for both to the 50th percentile. Because size at birth and gestational age are strongly associated, we calculated Z scores for gestational-specific and sex-specific birthweight, birth length, and ponderal index. Our primary outcomes were the number and type of infection-related admissions to hospital. We used multilevel negative binomial regression to generate rate ratios (RR) for such admissions, identified by codes from the International Classification of Diseases, versions 9 and 10-AM. We adjusted the RRs for maternal age at delivery, birth year, birth season, parity, sex, 5-min Apgar score, delivery method, socioeconomic status, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Findings Of 719?311 liveborn singletons included in the analysis and followed up for 8?824?093 person-years, 365?867 infection-related admissions to hospital occurred for 213?683 (30%) children. Of the 719?311 children included in the analysis, 137?124 (19%) had one infection-related admis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)952-961
JournalThe Lancet Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
Early online date1 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


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