Postdischarge Adverse Events Among Neonates Admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Dennis Tsilimingras, Girija Natarajan, Monika Bajaj, Prashant Agarwal, Jorge Lua, Amanda Deriemacker, Areeg Zuair, Dawn Misra, James Janisse, Liying Zhang, Jeffrey Schnipper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives We aimed to determine the rate of postdischarge adverse events (AEs), classify the types of postdischarge AEs, and identify risk factors for postdischarge AEs among neonates admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Study Design This was a prospective cohort study of neonates admitted to the NICU from February 2017 through June 2019. We enrolled 170 neonates from a level 4 NICU who were being discharged home and whose parents can speak English and could be contacted after discharge. The main outcome of the study was postdischarge AEs based on structured telephone interviews, health record review, and adjudication by 2 blinded, trained physicians using a previously established methodology. Results Fourteen percent of 170 neonates admitted to the NICU experienced postdischarge AEs, with 48% being either preventable or ameliorable. Adverse drug events and procedural complications comprised most of the AEs (48%), but most of the preventable and ameliorable AEs were due to management, therapeutic, or diagnostic errors. Seventy-nine percent of neonates who suffered an AE experienced either a readmission to the hospital or an emergency department visit. Neonates admitted to a level 4 NICU from another NICU (level 1, 2, or 3) (adjusted odds ratio, 3.62; 95% confidence interval, 1.27-12.60; P = 0.01) and those 28 to 36 weeks (adjusted odds ratio, 11.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.67-127.98; P = 0.01) had a significantly higher risk of AEs at discharge. Conclusions Neonates discharged from a level 4 NICU were at high risk for experiencing postdischarge AEs. The identification of AE types and risk factors can be used to guide efforts to develop interventions to improve neonatal patient safety during the postdischarge period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-469
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Patient Safety
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • adverse events
  • medical errors
  • neonates
  • quality of care
  • transitional care


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