J Korean Acad Child Health Nurs.  2008 Apr;14(2):146-154.

Health Problems and Health Services Utilization of Infants Born Prematurely in the U.S.

  • 1College of Nursing, Yonsei University, Korea. hlee26@yuhs.ac
  • 2College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.


PURPOSES: The purposes of this study are to describe the health problems experienced by VLBW premature infants and their health care services utilization during the first year of life METHOD: Eighteen mothers of VLBW premature infants completed a survey questionnaire, asking socioeconomic/demographic information, health/ developmental problems experienced by their infants, and their use of health care services.
Of the 18 infants, 78% experienced respiratory problems such as cold/running nose and wheezing during the first year and 33% experienced gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. Twelve (67%) infants visited the emergency department at least one time and 10 infants (56%) were hospitalized at least once during their first year of age. Interestingly, infants without chronic lung disease visited the emergency department more than infants without chronic lung disease (p=.213). Infants living in non-disadvantaged neighborhoods were hospitalized more than infants living in disadvantaged neighborhoods (p=.000).
Health care providers should initiate educating mothers, particularly those living in disadvantaged neighborhoods, about post-NICU discharge health care needs of their VLBW premature infants while their infants were still in the NICU so that unnecessary visits to the emergency department and rehospitalizations can be possibly prevented.


Premature infant; Health problem; Health service; Utilization
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