Am J Perinatol 1998; 15(10): 557-559
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-994060

© 1998 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Maternal-Fetal Transfers: Indications, Appropriateness, and Cost

Kristin M. Behrenz, Joan M. Mastrobattista, Manju Monga
  • Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, and Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, University of Texas Houston Medical School, Houston, Texas
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
04 March 2008 (online)


The objective of this study was to assess the indications, appropriateness, and cost of maternal-fetal transfers to a tertiary care facility in an era of managed care. Our perinatal database was reviewed from January 1, 1996 through June 30, 1997 to determine maternal and fetal indications for transfer, referring institution characteristics, utilization of tertiary level services, and cost of transfer. There were 273 transfers from 53 referring hospitals ranging in distance from <20 miles (n = 102) to >100 miles (n = 41). Thirty-one patients were transferred by air (average cost $7656), 238 by ground (average cost $920), 4 by private car. The referring diagnosis was preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) (n = 80), preterm labor (n = 76), preeclampsia (n = 42), medical complications (n = 25), or other (n = 50). Mean gestational age (GA) at transfer was 28.5 ± 5.5 weeks. Patients were referred from hospitals with a self-designated nursery level I (n = 115), II (n = 111), III (n = 45), or none (n = 2). In 42 patients, (15%) no maternal or fetal indication for hospital transfer was identified after evaluation at the tertiary center. The most common referring misdiagnoses were preterm labor (n = 25), PPROM (n = 10) and preeclampsia (n = 3). One hundred and sixty-five patients delivered during transfer admission (mean GA = 29.6 ± 4.8 weeks); 79 infants (48%) required admission to a level III, and 52 (31%) to a level II nursery. Most patients require the services of a tertiary facility after maternal fetal transfer. If delivered during transfer admission, the majority of neonates require care in an intermediate or intensive care nursery.