Simplification of the Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Scoring System: Retrospective study of two institutions in the USA

Enrique Gomez Pomar, Loretta P. Finnegan, Lori Devlin, Henrietta Bada, Vanessa A. Concina, Katrina T. Ibonia, Philip M. Westgate

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34 Scopus citations


Objective To develop a simplified Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Scoring System (sFNAS) that will highly correlate with scores =8 and =12 in infants being assessed with the FNAS. Design, setting and participants This is a retrospective analysis involving 367 patients admitted to two level IV neonatal intensive care units with a total of 40 294 observations. Inclusion criteria included neonates with gestational age =37 0/7 weeks, who are being assessed for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) using the FNAS. Infants with a gestational age <37 weeks were excluded. Methods A linear regression model based on the original FNAS data from one institution was developed to determine optimal values for each item in the sFNAS. A backward elimination approach was used, removing the items that contributed least to the Pearson's correlation. The sFNAS was then cross-validated with data from a second institution. Results Pearson's correlation between the proposed sFNAS and the FNAS was 0.914. The optimal treatment cut-off values for the sFNAS were 6 and 10 to predict FNAS scores =8 and =12, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of these cut-off values to detect FNAS scores =8 and =12 were 0.888 and 0.883 for a cut-off of 6, and 0.637 and 0.992 for a cut-off of 10, respectively. The sFNAS cross-validation resulted in a Pearson's correlation of 0.908, sensitivity and specificity of 0.860 and 0.873 for a cut-off of 6, and 0.525 and 0.986 for a cut-off of 10, respectively. Conclusion The sFNAS has a high statistical correlation with the FNAS, and it is cross-validated for the assessment of infants with NAS. It has excellent specificity and negative predictive value for identifying infants with FNAS scores ≥8 and ≥12.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere016176
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

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© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2017.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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