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This version of the article has been accepted for publication, and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:


OBJECTIVE: We sought a shortened MOTHER neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and Finnegan score that would retain comparable performance characteristics of the full instrument.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort.

RESULTS: In total, 124,170 MOTHER NAS scores between August 2007 and May 2016 from 775 infants (≥36 weeks) were examined. Classification and regression tree model identified the most important subsets of the scored variables. A 9-element shortened scale yielded >90% sensitivity and specificity to predict clinical endpoints based on the full 19-element MOTHER NAS score. Conversion of the data sets to the Finnegan score, and applying the same procedure resulted in a nine-element score with similar performance characteristics.

CONCLUSION: Shortened scoring instruments were identified with the high-predictive power for clinical endpoints based on the 19-element full MOTHER NAS score. There was no substantial variation in performance for age, supporting the current practice of utilizing a single scoring tool regardless of postnatal age.

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