Impact of Optimized Breastfeeding on the Costs of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Extremely Low Birthweight Infants

Tarah T. Colaizy, Melissa C. Bartick, Briana J. Jegier, Brittany D. Green, Arnold G. Reinhold, Andrew J. Schaefer, Debra L. Bogen, Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, Alison M. Stuebe, Alan H. Jobe, William Oh, Betty R. Vohr, Rachel V. Walden, Barbara Alksninis, Angelita M. Hensman, Martha R. Leonard, Lucy Noel, Teresa M. Leach, Victoria E. Watson, Avroy A. FanaroffMichele C. Walsh, Deanne E. Wilson-Costello, Nancy S. Newman, Bonnie S. Siner, Harriet G. Friedman, Edward F. Donovan, Kurt Schibler, Jean J. Steichen, Barbara Alexander, Cathy Grisby, Marcia Worley Mersmann, Holly L. Mincey, Jody Hessling, Teresa L. Gratton, Barbara J. Stoll, Ira Adams-Chapman, Ellen C. Hale, Maureen Mulligan LaRossa, Sheena Carter, Rosemary D. Higgins, Linda L. Wright, Elizabeth M. McClure, Brenda B. Poindexter, James A. Lemons, Anna M. Dusick, Darlene Kardatzke, Carolyn Lytle, Diana D. Appel, Lon G. Bohnke, Greg Eaken, Dianne E. Herron, Lucy C. Miller, Leslie Richard, Leslie Dawn Wilson, Abhik Das, W. Kenneth Poole, Lisa Ann Wrage, Betty K. Hastings, Elizabeth M. McClure, Jeanette O'Donnell Auman, Sarah Taylor, David K. Stevenson, Susan R. Hintz, M. Bethany Ball, Jean G. Kohn, Joan M. Baran, Julie C. Lee-Ancajas, Nicholas H. St. John, Waldemar A. Carlo, Namasivayam Ambalavanan, Kathleen G. Nelson, Myriam Peralta-Carcelen, Kirstin J. Bailey, Fred J. Biasini, Stephanie A. Chopko, Monica V. Collins, Shirley S. Cosby, Vivien A. Phillips, Richard V. Rector, Neil N. Finer, Yvonne E. Vaucher, Jack M. Anderson, Maynard R. Rasmussen, Kathy Arnell, Clarence Demetrio, Martha G. Fuller, Christopher Henderson, Donna Posin, Edward F. Bell, Charles R. Bauer, Shahnaz Duara, Amy Mur Worth, Ruth Everett-Thomas, Alexis N. Diaz, Elaine O. Mathews, Kasey Hamlin-Smith, Lisa Jean-Gilles, Maria Calejo, Silvia M. Frade, Silvia Hiriart-Fajardo, Yamiley Gideon, Sheldon B. Korones, Henrietta S. Bada, Tina Hudson, Kimberly Yolton, Marilyn G. Williams, Abbot R. Laptook, Walid A. Salhab, R. Sue Broyles, Susie Madison, Jackie F. Hickman, Alicia Guzman, Sally S. Adams, Linda A. Madden, Elizabeth T. Heyne, Cristin Dooley, Seetha Shankaran, Virginia Delaney-Black, Yvette R. Johnson, Rebecca Bara, Geraldine Muran, Deborah Kennedy, Laura A. Goldston, Richard A. Ehrenkranz, Patricia Gettner, Monica Konstantino, Elaine Romano, Nancy Close, Walter S. Gilliam, Jo Ann Poulsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objective To estimate risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) for extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants as a function of preterm formula (PF) and maternal milk intake and calculate the impact of suboptimal feeding on the incidence and costs of NEC. Study design We used aORs derived from the Glutamine Trial to perform Monte Carlo simulation of a cohort of ELBW infants under current suboptimal feeding practices, compared with a theoretical cohort in which 90% of infants received at least 98% human milk. Results NEC incidence among infants receiving ≥98% human milk was 1.3%; 11.1% among infants fed only PF; and 8.2% among infants fed a mixed diet (P = .002). In adjusted models, compared with infants fed predominantly human milk, we found an increased risk of NEC associated with exclusive PF (aOR = 12.1, 95% CI 1.5, 94.2), or a mixed diet (aOR 8.7, 95% CI 1.2-65.2). In Monte Carlo simulation, current feeding of ELBW infants was associated with 928 excess NEC cases and 121 excess deaths annually, compared with a model in which 90% of infants received ≥98% human milk. These models estimated an annual cost of suboptimal feeding of ELBW infants of $27.1 million (CI $24 million, $30.4 million) in direct medical costs, $563 655 (CI $476 191, $599 069) in indirect nonmedical costs, and $1.5 billion (CI $1.3 billion, $1.6 billion) in cost attributable to premature death. Conclusions Among ELBW infants, not being fed predominantly human milk is associated with an increased risk of NEC. Efforts to support milk production by mothers of ELBW infants may prevent infant deaths and reduce costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-105.e2
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation (P3024102) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD; U10 HD053109). NICHD and the National Center for Research Resources supported the Neonatal Research Network's Glutamine Trial through cooperative agreements [Appendix]). Participating sites collected data and transmitted it to RTI International, the data coordinating center for the network, which stored, managed, and analyzed the data for this study. Although NICHD staff did have input into the study design, conduct, analysis, and manuscript drafting, the content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NICHD. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • economic analysis
  • human milk
  • monte carlo modeling
  • necrotizing enterocolitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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