Author(s): Keren R, Zaoutis TE, Saddlemire S, Luan XQ, Coffin SE
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Our goal was to determine the cost of influenza-related hospitalization in children with community-acquired laboratory-confirmed influenza and to identify predictors of high hospitalization costs. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients 21 years and younger hospitalized at a children's hospital with community-acquired laboratory-confirmed influenza during 4 consecutive influenza seasons (2000-2004). The main outcome measure was the direct medical cost of influenza-related hospitalizations, including the cost of diagnostics, therapeutics, room, and physician services. RESULTS: Electronic billing data were retrievable for 727 (98\%) of 745 patients hospitalized for community-acquired laboratory-confirmed influenza during the study period. A total of 478 (66\%) children were in a high-risk group for whom the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended influenza vaccine (patients with Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices-designated chronic medical conditions or aged 6-23 months). The mean total cost of hospitalization for influenza-related illness was 13,159 dollars (39,792 dollars for patients admitted to an ICU; 7030 dollars for patients cared for exclusively on the wards). High-risk patients had higher mean total costs (15,269 dollars) than low-risk patients (9107 dollars). Cardiac, metabolic, and neurologic/neuromuscular diseases and age of 18 to 21 years were independently associated with the highest hospitalization costs (>15th percentile). CONCLUSIONS: The cost of influenza-related hospitalizations in children may be considerably higher than previously estimated. The presence of certain Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices-designated chronic medical conditions is associated with higher influenza-related hospitalization costs. Successfully immunizing patients with these conditions has the potential for significant cost savings.
This article was published in Pediatrics
and referenced in Internal Medicine: Open Access