• In a three-year period, 3.8% (43) of 1,123 infants discharged from one neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) subsequently died, the vast majority before 1 year of age. Sudden infant death syndrome was responsible for 28% of the deaths, congenital heart disease for 25% of the deaths, chronic lung disease for 16%, and trauma, infections, and chromosomal disorders each accounted for 5% of the deaths. Postdischarge death rates in the three-year study period remained stable, while infant mortality in the NICU decreased from 26.5% to 16.3%. This study suggests that decreasing mortality among infants treated in NICUs is not necessarily reflected in improved postdischarge death rates and that the vast majority of deaths in these infants are currently not preventable.
(Am J Dis Child 1983;137:44-47)