The value of routine laboratory screening in the neonatal intensive care unit

Kazmi, S.H.*, Caprio, M., Boolchandani, H., Mally, P., Bailey, S., Desai, P. | JNPM 2020;


BACKGROUND: Healthcare spending is expected to grow faster than the economy over the next decade, and the cost of prematurity increases annually. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of intervention after routine laboratory testing in preterm infants.

METHODS: This was a retrospective study of preterm infants (≤34 weeks) admitted to the NYU Langone Health NICU from June 2013 to December 2014. Data collected included demographics, results of laboratory tests, and resulting interventions. Intervention after a hemogram was defined as a blood transfusion. Intervention after a hepatic panel was defined as initiation or termination of ursodiol or change in dose of vitamin D. Subjects were stratified into 3 groups based on gestation (<28 weeks, 28–31 6/7 weeks, 32–34 weeks). Chi-square analysis was used to compare the frequency of intervention between the groups.

RESULTS: A total of 135 subjects were included in the study. The frequency of intervention after a hemogram was 8.4% in infants <28 weeks, 4.6% in infants 28–31 6/7 weeks, and 0% in infants 32–34 weeks; this difference was found to be statistically significant (p = 0.02). The frequency of intervention after a hepatic panel was 4.2% in infants <28 weeks, 5.7% in infants 28–31 6/7 weeks, and 0% in infants 32–34 weeks, which was not found to be a statistically significant different.

CONCLUSION: No interventions were undertaken post-routine laboratory testing in any infant 32–34 weeks and routine testing in this population may be unnecessary. Further studies are needed to elucidate if routine testing affects neonatal outcomes.

*Corresponding Author: 

Sadaf Kazmi, 317 East 34th Street, Suite 902, New York, NY 10016, USA. Tel.: +1 732 239 0682; Fax: +1 646 754 7530; E-mail: