New Study Shows Aspiration Pneumonia Leads to Longer and Costlier Hospitalizations in Children

New Study Shows Aspiration Pneumonia Leads to Longer and Costlier Hospitalizations in Children

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital recently compared the clinical and hospitalization outcomes in children with aspiration pneumonia and with community-acquired pneumonia, and found that children with aspiration pneumonia are more likely to have a chronic condition and longer and costlier hospitalization. The results were recently presented at the 2016 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, which took place in Baltimore, April 30 to May 3.

Pneumonia is a respiratory condition that can be caused by a range of different germs, with bacteria and viruses being the most common. The multi-causal disease is usually classified according to the type of pathogen causing it or to the characteristics, such as place, where it develops. Among others, pneumonia can be classified as aspiration pneumonia, acquired due to inhalation of food, drink or vomit into the lungs, or the most common type, community-acquired pneumonia, which occurs outside hospitals and other health service facilities.

The research team, led by Alexander Hirsch, MD, chief resident at Boston Children’s Hospital, identified children hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia or community-acquired pneumonia between 2009 and 2014, at 43 different hospitals, through the Pediatric Health Information System data. In total, researchers identified 12,097 children hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia, and 121,489 hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia.

Researchers evaluated characteristics such as age and percentage with a complex chronic condition, as well as hospitalization characteristics, such as length of stay, admission in intensive care units (ICU), cost, and 30-day readmission rate.

“Our study is the first to describe the clinical and hospital characteristics of a broad cohort of children hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia,” noted Dr. Hirsch in a news release.

Analysis of the results indicated that children hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia were more likely to have a chronic condition, which translates into care in the ICU, higher costs of hospitalization, and higher 30-day readmission rates after being discharged from the hospital. The cost of hospitalization was found to be 2.4 times higher when compared to children with community-acquired pneumonia. Furthermore, researchers detected seasonal variability for community-acquired pneumonia hospitalizations, but not for aspiration pneumonia admissions.

“Our study underscores the need for future research to optimize coordination of care and treatment for children at risk of aspiration pneumonia,” concluded Dr. Hirsch.

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