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February 1985

The Premature Infant Goes Home: Guidelines for Primary Care

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque.

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(2):200-202. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140040102039

Approximately 240,000 infants with low birth weights are born each year in the United States.1 Although the great majority of them live, some survive only after extraordinary treatment and prolonged hospitalizations. Despite the voluminous literature on the intensive care of premature infants, there is surprisingly little information to assist primary care providers in the treatment of these infants after their discharge from the hospital. In this review, we discuss some of the medical, developmental, and psychosocial issues relevant to the "well-child care" of premature infants. We do not address issues that are unique to certain underlying conditions (such as genetic abnormalities or congenital viral infections) or that involve specific medical complications (eg, colostomies or chronic pulmonary disease). Approaches to primary care will vary from pediatrician to pediatrician. These are suggested guidelines that were developed from both a review of the literature and personal experience.

IMMUNIZATIONS  The immunization schedule for