Neonatal intensive care admission for term neonates and subsequent childhood mortality: a retrospective linkage study

Shahar Talisman, Joshua Guedalia, Rivka Farkash, Tehila Avitan, Naama Srebnik, Yair Kasirer, Michael S. Schimmel, Donia Ghanem, Ron Unger, Sorina Grisaru Granovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission among term neonates is a rare event. The aim of this study was to study the association of the NICU admission of term neonates on the risk of long-term childhood mortality. Methods: A single-center case–control retrospective study between 2005 and 2019, including all in-hospital ≥ 37 weeks’ gestation singleton live-born neonates. The center perinatal database was linked with the birth and death certificate registries of the Israeli Ministry of Internal Affairs. The primary aim of the study was to study the association between NICU admission and childhood mortality throughout a 15-year follow-up period. Results: During the study period, 206,509 births were registered; 192,527 (93.22%) term neonates were included in the study; 5292 (2.75%) were admitted to NICU. Throughout the follow-up period, the mortality risk for term neonates admitted to the NICU remained elevated; hazard ratio (HR), 19.72 [14.66, 26.53], (p < 0.001). For all term neonates, the mortality rate was 0.16% (n = 311); 47.9% (n = 149) of those had records of a NICU admission. The mortality rate by time points (ratio1:10,0000 births) related to the age at death during the follow-up period was as follows: 29, up to 7 days; 20, 7–28 days; 37, 28 days to 6 months; 21, 6 months to 1 year; 19, 1–2 years; 9, 2–3 years; 10, 3–4 years; and 27, 4 years and more. Following the exclusion of congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities, NICU admission remained the most significant risk factor associated with mortality of the study population, HRs, 364.4 [145.3; 913.3] for mortality in the first 7 days of life; 19.6 [12.1; 32.0] for mortality from 28 days through 6 months of life and remained markedly elevated after age 4 years; HR, 7.1 [3.0; 17.0]. The mortality risk related to the NICU admission event, adjusted for admission diagnoses remained significant; HR = 8.21 [5.43; 12.4]. Conclusions: NICU admission for term neonates is a pondering event for the risk of long-term childhood mortality. This group of term neonates may benefit from focused health care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Long-term mortality
  • NICU admission diagnosis
  • Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Term neonate


Dive into the research topics of 'Neonatal intensive care admission for term neonates and subsequent childhood mortality: a retrospective linkage study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this