Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Term admissions to NICU: unexpected but yet significant
  1. K Zambergs,
  2. J Achiampong,
  3. EA Martindale,
  4. N Soni
  1. Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre, Burnley, United Kingdom


Background There is a national shortage of cots in Level 3 NICU. There is paucity of published data for term infants needing NICU admission, their impact on NICU activity and staffing. Hence we conducted an audit to benchmark baseline data for term infants needing admissions to NICU identifying common themes for admissions and their contribution to NICU's workload.

Methods A retrospective review of all term admissions (≥37 w) to our Level 3 NICU over 12 months (Nov10-Nov11) from Obstetric unit and midwifery lead birth centres using Neonatal and Maternity admissions and discharge datasets available locally.

Results There were 6621 live births during this period, 5995 being ≥37 week gest.

212 term infants (3.5% of all term infants) were admitted during this period and contributed to:

38% of NICU admissions

95% admissions unexpected

11% of ITU activity

15% of HDU activity

17% of SCBU activity

The median duration of stay on NICU was 4 days with interquartile range 2 to 7 days.

Common admission themes for term infants included:

Respiratory distress: 41%

Contributed to 17% of ventilation days and 7% of CPAP days

Neonatal Infections: 13%

Feeding problems: 7%



Poor condition at birth: 5%

Severe Jaundice, Neonatal drug withdrawal/social reasons - 2.5% each

Miscellaneous 17%

Conclusion Term infants contribute to significant unexpected NICU admissions putting strain on neonatal resources. Creation of transitional care units may prevent some of these optimising NICU capacity for preterm admissions.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.