Trends in inpatient and post-discharge mortality among young infants admitted to Kilifi County Hospital, Kenya: a retrospective cohort study

Talbert A, Ngari M, Obiero C, Nyaguara A, Mwangome M, Mturi N, Ouma N, Otiende M, Berkley J
BMJ Open. 2023;13

Permenent descriptor

OBJECTIVES: To describe admission trends and estimate inpatient and post-discharge mortality and its associated exposures, among young infants (YI) admitted to a county hospital in Kenya. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Secondary level hospital. PARTICIPANTS: YI aged less than 60 days admitted to hospital from January 2009 to December 2019: 12 271 admissions in 11 877 individuals. YI who were resident within a Kilifi Health and Demographic Surveillance System (KHDSS): n=3625 with 4421 admissions were followed-up for 1 year after discharge. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Inpatient and 1-year post-discharge mortality, the latter in KHDSS residents. RESULTS: Of 12 271 YI admissions, 4421 (36%) were KHDSS-resident. Neonatal sepsis, preterm complications and birth asphyxia accounted for 83% of the admissions. The proportion of YI among under-5s admissions increased from 19% in 2009 to 34% in 2019 (P(trend)=0.02). Inpatient case fatality was 16%, with 66% of the deaths occurring within 48 hours of admission. The introduction of free maternity care in 2013 was not associated with a change in admissions or inpatient mortality among YI. During 1-year post-discharge, 208/3625 (5.7%) YI died, 64.3 (95% CI 56.2 to 73.7) per 1000 infant-years. 49% of the post-discharge deaths occurred within 1 month of discharge, and 49% of post-discharge deaths occurred at home. Both inpatient and post-discharge deaths were associated with low admission weight. Inpatient mortality was associated with clinical signs of disease severity, while post-discharge mortality was associated with the length of hospitalisation, leaving against advice and referral to a specialised hospital. CONCLUSIONS: YIs accounted for an increasing proportion of paediatric admissions and their overall mortality remains high. Post-discharge mortality accounts for a lower proportion of deaths but mortality rate is higher than among children aged 2-59 months. Services to address post-discharge mortality are needed and should focus on infants at higher risk.