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Neonatal Med > Volume 18(1); 2011 > Article
Journal of the Korean Society of Neonatology 2011;18(1):70-75.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5385/jksn.2011.18.1.70    Published online May 15, 2011.
Regional Analysis on the Incidence of Preterm and Low Birth Weight Infant and the Current Situation on the Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Korea, 2009.
Byung Ho Kang, Kyung A Jung, Won Ho Hahn, Kye Shik Shim, Ji Young Chang, Chong Woo Bae
Department of Pediatrics, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. baecw@khnmc.or.kr
Recently, the incidence of preterm and low birth weight infants (LBWI) is increasing, even though the birth rate is continuously low in Korea. Despite that change, there continues to be a deficit of beds in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This study is based on the 2009 Korean Statistical Information Service that examined the development of a Korean NICU service and the survival rate of preterm infants by regionally analyzing the rate of total live births, preterm infants, LBWI, and NICU beds in Korea.
Data were obtained from the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service and Korean Statistical Information Service. We confirmed the regional total live birth rate, number of LBWI, and preterm infants and NICU numbers, and all of the results were compared to the average value to determine deficient areas of NICU beds.
There were 25,374 (5.7%) preterm infants and 21,954 (4.9%) LBWI in the total number of live births (444,849) in 2009, and regions of high proportion compared to the mean value were Busan, Daegu, and Ulsan. Total NICU beds totaled 1,284, and regions of high rates preterm infants and LBWI per 1 NICU bed compared to the mean value were Incheon, Daegu, Ulsan, etc. The NICU holding rate was 87.5% (1,284/1,468), which was increased from 2005. However, there were still shortages of 184 NICU beds (12.5%), especially in Gyeonggi-do, which lacked 157 beds.
High risk neonates difficult to transfer, and they need immediate and continuous treatment. As a result, a foundation of well-balanced, national NICU regionalization is necessary. This study suggested that more NICU facilities must be implemented, and clinicians should realize the continuing deficiency of NICU beds in cities and provinces.
Key Words: Incidence, Premature infant, Low birth weight infant, Neonatal intensive care units


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