Babies born prematurely are at risk for developing many complications, including the lung disease bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The link between BPD and respiratory conditions are well-documented, but researchers from several healthcare organizations in Philadelphia also suspected that all premature babies – not only those with BPD – were at a higher risk of having a respiratory condition. They used data in Epic to test their theory and help these babies get the treatment they need.
Using nearly ten years’ worth of data in Epic, researchers compared patients’ diagnoses and treatment. While babies with BPD were more likely than babies without BPD to be diagnosed with asthma or readmitted for a respiratory condition, researchers found that 60% of premature babies without BPD were diagnosed with asthma and 30% were readmitted. In addition, these babies were less likely to receive similar treatment to babies with BPD, such as a referral to a pulmonologist.
Based on this research, the study concluded that all premature infants should be considered at high risk for respiratory conditions and treated accordingly.
Read more in The Journal of Pediatrics.