Background: Reliable estimates of hospitalization costs for severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection are necessary to perform economic analyses of preventive strategies of severe RSV disease. We aimed to develop a model that predicts anticipated mean RSV hospitalization costs of groups of young children at risk for hospitalization, but not yet hospitalized, based on readily available child characteristics.
Methods: We determined real direct medical costs of RSV hospitalization from a societal perspective, using a bottom-up strategy, in 3458 infants and young children hospitalized for severe RSV disease during the RSV seasons 1996-1997 to 1999-2000 in the Southwest of the Netherlands. We used a linear regression model to predict anticipated mean RSV hospitalization costs of groups of children at risk, based on 4 child characteristics [age, gestational age, birth weight and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)], expressed in EC Euros as of the year 2000.
Findings: The mean RSV hospitalization costs of all patients were 3110 Euros. RSV hospitalization costs were higher for patients with lower gestational age (5555 Euros; gestational age, </=28 weeks), lower birth weight (3895 Euros; birth weight </=2500 g), BPD (5785 Euros; with BPD) and young age (4730 Euros; first month of life). The linear regression model had an adjusted R of 0.08. This indicates a low explanatory ability for hospitalization costs of individual children. However, the model could accurately estimate the anticipated mean hospitalization costs of groups of children with the same characteristics.
Interpretation: RSV hospitalization costs were substantial, especially of specific high risk groups. Anticipated mean hospitalization costs of groups of children at risk for RSV hospitalization, but not yet hospitalized, could well be estimated with 4 child characteristics (age, gestational age, birth weight and BPD). These estimated costs can be used for economic analyses of preventive strategies for severe RSV disease.