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Hospital admissions in infants with Down syndrome: a record-linked population-based cohort study in Wales

Esperanza, Regine, Evans, Annette, Tucker, David, Paranjothy, Shantini and Hurt, Lisa 2022. Hospital admissions in infants with Down syndrome: a record-linked population-based cohort study in Wales. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 66 , pp. 225-239. 10.1111/jir.12903

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Background Despite recent advances, mortality in children with Down syndrome remains five times higher than in the general population. This study aims to describe the burden, patterns and causes of hospital admissions in infants with Down syndrome, and compare this with infants without Down syndrome in a population-based cohort. Methods This study used data from the Wales Electronic Cohort for Children, a cohort of all children born in Wales between 1990 and 2012. The cohort was generated from routine administrative data, linked to create an anonymised data set within the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage databank. This analysis is based on all infants born between January 2003 and January 2012 who were followed to their first birthday, a move out of Wales, death, or until 31 October 2012 (end of follow-up). Infants with Down syndrome were identified using the Congenital Anomaly Register and Information Service in Wales. Multivariable Cox regression was used to compare the time to first hospital admission. Admission codes were used to identify the commonest indications for hospitalisation and to determine the presence of other congenital anomalies. Results We included 324 060 children, 356 of whom had Down syndrome. Of infants with Down syndrome, 80.3% had at least one hospital inpatient admission during the first year of life, compared with 32.9% of infants without Down syndrome. These first admissions were earlier [median of 6 days interquartile range (IQR) (3, 72) compared with 45 days [IQR 6, 166)] and longer [median of 4 days (IQR 1, 15) compared with 1 day (IQR 0, 3)] than in infants without Down syndrome. The most common causes of admissions were congenital abnormalities, respiratory diseases, conditions originating in the perinatal period and infectious diseases. The presence of other congenital abnormalities increased hospitalisations in all infants, but more so in infants with Down syndrome who spent a median of 21 days in hospital (IQR 11, 47) during their first year of life. Conclusion Infants with Down syndrome are at high risk for early, more frequent and longer hospital admissions. Congenital heart disease and respiratory infections remain a major burden in this population. More research is needed to understand how to better manage these conditions particularly in the first month of life when most admissions occur.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0964-2633
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 November 2021
Date of Acceptance: 29 October 2021
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2022 10:07

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