Clinical Edge

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Economic Burden of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Addiction; ePub 2017 Jun 13; Corr, Hollenbeak

The incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is increasing in the US, and carries an enormous burden in terms of hospital days and costs, according to a recent study. Infants with a diagnosis of NAS (n=27,943) were identified from the Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) and compared with non-NAS infants (n=3,783,629). Primary outcome measures were provider costs and length of stay for NAS and non-NAS admissions. Costs were calculated using cost-to-charge ratios and were adjusted for inflation to 2014 US dollars. Researchers found:

  • Between 2003 and 2012, NAS admissions increased more than fourfold, resulting in a surge in annual costs from $61 million and 67,869 hospital days in 2003 to nearly $316 million and 291,168 hospital days in 2012.
  • For an infant affected by NAS, the hospital stay was nearly 3.5 times as long (16.57 hospital days compared with 4.98 for a non-NAS patient) and the costs more than 3 times greater ($16,893 compared to $5,610 for a non-affected infant).


Corr TE, Hollenbeak CS. The economic burden of neonatal abstinence syndrome in the United States. [Published online ahead of print June 13, 2017]. Addiction. doi:10.1111/add.13842.

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