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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


BARROS, Aluísio J D et al. Neonatal mortality: description and effect of hospital of birth after risk adjustment. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.42, n.1, pp.1-9.  Epub Jan 08, 2008. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of hospital of birth on neonatal mortality. METHODS: A birth cohort study was carried out in Pelotas, Southern Brazil, in 2004. All hospital births were assessed by daily visits to all maternity hospitals and 4558 deliveries were included in the study. Mothers were interviewed regarding potential risk factors. Deaths were monitored through regular visits to hospitals, cemeteries and register offices. Two independent pediatricians established the underlying cause of death based on information obtained from medical records and home visits to parents. Logistic regression was used to estimate the effect of hospital of birth, controlling for confounders related to maternal and newborn characteristics, according to a conceptual model. RESULTS: Neonatal mortality rate was 12.7‰ and it was highly influenced by birthweight, gestational age, and socioeconomic variables. Immaturity was responsible for 65% of neonatal deaths, followed by congenital anomalies, infections and intrapartum asphyxia. Adjusting for maternal characteristics, a three-fold increase in neonatal mortality was seen between similar complexity hospitals. The effect of hospital remained, though lower, after controlling for newborn characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: Neonatal mortality was high, mainly related to immaturity, and varied significantly across maternity hospitals. Further investigations comparing delivery care practices across hospitals are needed to better understand NMR variation and to develop strategies for neonatal mortality reduction.

Keywords : Neonatal mortality [Public Health]; Hospital services; Risk factor; Cohort studies; Brazil.

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