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01:07 - Source: CNN

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Black and Hispanic preterm babies, compared with white, had increased risk of severe health issues in a new study

The study suggests that health disparities among preemies may be larger than thought

CNN  — 

A new study suggests that black and Hispanic premature babies, compared with white premature babies, had a two- to four-fold increased risk of four severe neonatal health problems.

Those health problems included necrotizing enterocolitis, which impacts tissue in the intestine, and intraventricular hemorrhage, which is bleeding in certain areas of the brain, both of which can be deadly; bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a lung condition that might result in long-term breathing difficulty for some; and retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disorder that can be potentially blinding.

Additionally, Asian preterm infants were at an increased risk of retinopathy of prematurity, according to the study published on Monday in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The findings suggest that previous research on disparities in these preterm morbidities – a term to describe diseases or medical problems – have underestimated “the true magnitude of disparity,” the researchers wrote in the study.