National estimates of hospital utilization by children with gastrointestinal disorders: analysis of the 1997 kids' inpatient database

J Pediatr. 2004 May;144(5):589-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2004.02.029.


Objectives: To identify and to generate national estimates of the principal gastrointestinal (GI) diagnoses associated with hospital utilization and to describe national hospital utilization patterns associated with pediatric GI disorders.

Study design: We analyzed a nationwide and stratified probability sample of 1.9 million hospital discharges from 1997 of children 18 years and younger, weighted to 6.7 million discharges nationally. Principal GI diagnoses were identified through the use of the Clinical Classification Software and Major Diagnostic Categories.

Results: In 1997 in the United States, there were 329,825 pediatric discharges associated with a principal GI diagnosis, accounting for more than 2.6 billion US dollars in hospital charges and more than 1.1 million hospital days. Appendicitis, intestinal infection, noninfectious gastroenteritis, abdominal pain, esophageal disorders, and digestive congenital anomalies combined accounted for 75.1% of GI discharge diagnoses, 64.2% of GI hospital charges, and 68.0% of GI hospital days. Excluding normal newborn infants and conditions related to pregnancy, GI disorders were the third leading cause of hospitalization.

Conclusions: GI disorders are a leading cause of hospitalization of children. A minority of GI conditions account for the majority of measures of utilization. Children are hospitalized for GI conditions and at institutions that are distinct from adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / economics
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Hospital Charges
  • Hospital Costs
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Utilization Review*