Objective: To identify clinical factors associated with morbidity, mortality, and length of stay (LOS) for inpatient pediatric otolaryngologic procedures.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study.
Methods: Records of patients undergoing pediatric otolaryngologic procedures were extracted from the National Hospital Data Survey for the calendar years 1995 through 1999. These records were examined to determine demographics, morbidity, mortality, type of procedure (as defined by anatomic subsite), and LOS. The effects of morbidity and type of procedure on LOS were identified.
Results: A total of 4861 children underwent inpatient otolaryngologic procedures. The overall morbidity rate was 4.6%. The most common morbidity was pneumonia, occurring in 171 patients (3.5%). The presence of any morbidity was associated with a significantly increased LOS (18.4 days vs 4.6 days; P<.001). The occurrence of pneumonia was associated with an increase in LOS to 19.7 days vs 4.7 days in patients without pneumonia (P<.001). Procedures involving the larynx, trachea, or esophagus carried the longest LOS (12.3 days; P<.001) among all procedural categories. The overall mortality rate was distinctly low at 0.4%. However, the occurrence of morbidity was associated with an increased risk of death, with an odds ratio of 8.0 (P =.001). Mortality was highest (13 of 18 deaths) after procedures on the larynx, trachea, or esophagus.
Conclusions: Medical complications in children undergoing inpatient otolaryngologic procedures are associated with significantly increased LOS. Despite procedural complexity, overall mortality is remarkably low. Efforts to decrease medical morbidity in this population may result in decreased LOS and improved clinical outcomes.