As extremely preterm infant mortality rates have decreased, concerns regarding resource utilization have intensified. Accurate models to predict time to hospital discharge could aid in resource planning, family counseling, and perhaps stimulate quality improvement initiatives.
For infants <27 weeks estimated gestational age (EGA), to develop, validate and compare several models to predict time to hospital discharge based on time-dependent covariates, and based on the presence of 5 key risk factors as predictors.
Patients and Methods
This was a retrospective analysis of infants <27 weeks EGA, born 7/2002-12/2005 and surviving to discharge from a NICHD Neonatal Research Network site. Time to discharge was modeled as continuous (postmenstrual age at discharge, PMAD), and categorical variables (“Early” and “Late” discharge). Three linear and logistic regression models with time-dependent covariate inclusion were developed (perinatal factors only, perinatal+early neonatal factors, perinatal+early+later factors). Models for Early and Late discharge using the cumulative presence of 5 key risk factors as predictors were also evaluated. Predictive capabilities were compared using coefficient of determination (R2) for linear models, and AUC of ROC curve for logistic models.
Data from 2254 infants were included. Prediction of PMAD was poor, with only 38% of variation explained by linear models. However, models incorporating later clinical characteristics were more accurate in predicting “Early” or “Late” discharge (full models: AUC 0.76-0.83 vs. perinatal factor models: AUC 0.56-0.69). In simplified key risk factors models, predicted probabilities for Early and Late discharge compared favorably with observed rates. Furthermore, the AUC (0.75-0.77) were similar to those of models including the full factor set.
Prediction of Early or Late discharge is poor if only perinatal factors are considered, but improves substantially with knowledge of later-occurring morbidities. Prediction using a few key risk factors is comparable to full models, and may offer a clinically applicable strategy.