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Chicago Ridge, IL, United States

Patel A.L.,Rush University Medical Center | Bigger H.R.,Rush University Medical Center | Engstrom J.L.,Children and Family Nursing | Engstrom J.L.,University of the Frontier | And 2 more authors.
Advances in Nutrition | Year: 2014

Infants born at very low birth weight (VLBW; birth weight <1500 g) are at high risk of mortality and are some of the most expensive patients in the hospital. Additionally, VLBW infants are susceptible to prematurity-related morbidities, including late-onset sepsis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia(BPD), necrotizing enterocolitis, and retinopathy of prematurity, which have short- and long-term economic consequences. The incremental cost of these morbidities during the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization is high, ranging from $10,055 (in 2009 US$) for late-onset sepsis to $31,565 for BPD. Human milk has been shown to reduce both the incidence and severity of some of these morbidities and, therefore, has an indirect impact on the cost of the NICU hospitalization. Furthermore, human milk may also directly reduce NICU hospitalization costs, independent of the indirect impact on the incidence and/or severity of these morbidities. Although there is an economic cost to both the mother and institution for providing human milk during the NICU hospitalization, these costs are relatively low. This review describes the total cost of the initial NICU hospitalization, the incremental cost associated with these prematurity-related morbidities, and the incremental benefits and costs of human milk feedings during critical periods of the NICU hospitalization as a strategy to reduce the incidence and severity of these morbidities. © 2014 American Society for Nutrition. Source

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