Preterm Admissions in a Special Care Baby Unit: The Nnewi Experience

  • EF Ugochukwu
  • CC Ezechukwu
  • CC Agbata
  • I Ezumba


A review of all preterm admissions into the Special Care Bay Unit of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, over a period of 29 months (May 1998 October 2000) was carried out. Out of a total of 699 neonatal admissions, 133 (19 percent) were preterms with gestational ages ranging from 24 to 36 weeks and birth weights from 600g to 2490g. Male: female ratio was 1:1.5. Seventy-three patients (54.9 percent) were referred from other health establishments, while 60 (45.1 percent) were born in NAUTH. Thirty-three patients were delivered by Caesarean section, out of which one died. Factors contributing to morbidity were sepsis, asphyxia, jaundice, anaemia and haemorrhagic disease of the newborn. Duration of hospital stay ranged from two hours to 54 days with a mean of 16.7 days. Twenty-four (18 percent) of the 133 patients died. Mortality-associated events were respiratory distress syndrome (40.0 percent), severe birth asphyxia (33.4 percent), neonatal sepsis (13.3 percent), severe neonatal jaundice (6.7 percent) and severe anaemia and haemorrhagic disease of the newborn (3.3 percent) each. The referred cases contributed 75 percent of the mortality. During the period between hospital discharge and one year corrected age, 2.8 percent of the babies died, 1.8 percent developed hydrocephalus, 1.8 percent had cerebral palsy, 2.8 percent had recurrent acute respiratory infections requiring hospital admission and 13.8 percent were lost to follow up. This study illustrates the impact of a newborn unit on a programme designed to reduce perinatal mortality.

Nigerian Journal of Paediatrics 2002;29:75-79.

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