Clinical considerations in premature infants

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Approximately 1 in 10 babies in the United States is born prematurely. Prematurity is the leading cause of death in newborns. Rates of morbidity and mortality are inversely related to gestational age or birthweight. Even infants born 2 or 3 weeks prematurely have an increased risk of death during their first year, compared with term infants. Premature infants suffer short-term and long-term consequences such as hypothermia, respiratory distress, cardiovascular disturbances, and increased hospitalizations, as well as visual, auditory, and learning disabilities. Drug therapy for common ailments affecting premature infants continues to evolve as new data become available.

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