CNS Communiqué

VARIATION IN USE BY NICU TYPES

A recently published study of the variation in NICU admissions indicates a need for further research on the characteristics of those admissions to help generate evidence-based guidelines for appropriate NICU use.  The study also recommends a campaign to focus neonatal care teams on using the NICU wisely by addressing the appropriate use of intensive care for newborn infants and accounting for local context and the needs of families.

Increased admissions of higher birth weight and less acutely ill infants to NICUs suggests that intensive care may be used inappropriately in these populations.  Among many potential complications, overuse of NICU admissions carries the risk of iatrogenic infection, acute familial stress and disruption of breastfeeding.