Infants living in urban areas of California fared worse than those living in rural areas in terms of hospitalization during the first year of life, according to study findings published online.
Kristin N. Ray, MD, of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues looked at data on hospitalizations, birth certificates and discharge records for babies born in different California counties between 1993 and 2005. The researchers used univariate and multivariable methods to analyze the data.
“Infants living in small rural counties experienced 370 hospital days per 1,000 infants compared with 474 hospital days per 1,000 infants living in large urban counties,” the researchers said.
They noted some study limitations, specifically that the study “did not include additional geographic characteristics, such as the location of pediatricians, family practitioners, hospitals, emergency departments, pediatric centers, and rural health centers, as this was beyond the scope of our analysis. Similarly, although we could determine transfers between hospitals after hospitalization, we did not have data on preceding clinic or emergency department visits or potential transfers between emergency departments before hospitalization.”
Regardless, the researchers said their findings warrant further research.