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Increased prevalence of severe neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia during social distancing

HumanInsight Increased prevalence of severe neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia during social distancing

J Paediatr Child Health. 2022 Jan 8. doi: 10.1111/jpc.15881. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

AIM: Social distancing guidelines implemented with the COVID-19 pandemic impacted health-care utilisation and disrupted critical social supports. Resurgence of highly transmissible strains has resulted in revisiting restrictions with potential impacts on newborn health. With concerns for inadequate post-partum support, we sought to determine if social distancing correlated with increased rates of readmission for hyperbilirubinaemia.

METHODS: Retrospective chart review identified all readmissions for hyperbilirubinaemia between 1/18 and 4/20 in Western New York. Infant/maternal demographics and data on hospital course were collected on control (1/1/18-31/1/20) and social distancing (1/2/20-30/4/20) cohorts. Nineteen outpatient clinics were surveyed regarding lactation support.

RESULTS: Monthly readmissions for hyperbilirubinaemia nearly tripled during social distancing (0.90 ± 0.91 vs. 2.63 ± 2.29 per 1000 births during early COVID, P = 0.015). Comparable severity of disease at readmission was observed with no difference in the need for therapies (phototherapy, intravenous immunoglobulin or exchange transfusion) or length of hospital stay. Mothers were younger (25.8 ± 3.3 vs. 31.3 ± 4.7 years; P = 0.005) with higher rates of primiparity and exclusive breastfeeding than national norms, however not significantly higher than controls in our small cohort (62.5 vs. 37.0% for primiparity; 87.5 vs. 81.5% for breastfeeding). Of 19 clinics surveyed, only six confirmed a telemedicine option for lactation support.

CONCLUSIONS: Rates of readmission for hyperbilirubinaemia increased during social distancing. Younger maternal age with high rates of primiparity and exclusive breastfeeding raise concern for inadequate social and/or lactation support. Proactive identification of mothers at risk and expansion of remote lactation services may be indicated with recurrent waves of the pandemic.

PMID:34997787 | DOI:10.1111/jpc.15881

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