Influence of Socioeconomic Context on the Rehospitalization Rates of Infants Born Preterm

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To investigate the impact of social inequalities on the risk of rehospitalization in the first year after discharge from the neonatal unit in a population of preterm-born children.

Study design

Preterm infants were included if they were born between 2006 and 2013 at ≤32 + 6 weeks of gestation and who received follow-up in a French regional medical network with a high level of healthcare. Socioeconomic context was estimated using a neighborhood-based socioeconomic deprivation index. Univariate and logistic regression analyses were used to identify risk factors associated with rehospitalization.


For the 2325 children, the mean gestational age was 29 ± 2 weeks and the mean birth weight was 1315 ± 395 g. In the first year, 22% were rehospitalized (n = 589); respiratory diseases were the primary cause (44%). The multiple rehospitalization rate was 18%. Multivariable analysis showed that living in the most deprived neighborhoods (socioeconomic deprivation index of 5) was associated with overall rehospitalization (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.5-3.6; P < .001), and multiple rehospitalizations (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.2-4.9; P < .01); with socioeconomic deprivation index of 1 (least deprived) as reference. Deprivation was associated with all causes of hospitalization. Female sex (P < .001) and living in an urban area (P = .001) were protective factors.


Despite regional routine follow-up for all children, rehospitalization after very preterm birth was higher for children living in deprived neighborhoods. Families' social circumstances need to be considered when evaluating the health consequences of very preterm birth.

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