Background: Ethnic differences in the incidence of spitting up have not been reported. The nursing team at our well-baby nursery observed that newborn infants of Ethiopian origin appeared to spit up more than the others.
Objective: To determine whether there are such ethnic differences and what, if anything, is their clinical relevance.
Methods: Of the 3663 enrolled infants born at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center during the 12 month study period, 55 were of Ethiopian origin and their medical records were retrospectively surveyed. The retrieved data were compared with those of 167 randomly selected non-Ethiopian newborns (controls). Exclusion criteria were preterm delivery, admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, and congenital birth defects.
Results: Newborn infants of Ethiopian origin spit up 57% more than control infants. The difference in the number of spit ups was more obvious when only the infants who spit up were compared (2.3 ± 1.7 Ethiopian newborns vs. 1.5 ± 0.9 controls, P = 0.002), although the percentage of infants who spit up was the same in the two groups. There was no difference in weight gain, days of hospitalization, bilirubin levels or nutrition type between the groups.
Conclusions: Infants of Ethiopian origin spit up more than the control newborn infants of non-Ethiopian origin, while other clinical parameters were similar. In the absence of other pathological signs, spitting up is a non-relevant clinical condition.