Background: Neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, while uncommon, is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. However, there is little nationally representative data describing resource utilization.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study was conducted using the Pediatric Health Information System, an administrative database that contains discharge diagnosis and resource utilization data from 35 free-standing children's hospitals. Patients <or=60 days of age with a primary discharge diagnosis of HSV were study eligible if they received intravenous acyclovir and were discharged between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2005.
Results: There were 406 patients with HSV. The median age was 16 days (interquartile range: 8-31 days); 52% of patients were female. Congenital heart disease, the most common congenital anomaly, occurred in 10% of patients. The median length of stay was 15 days; 21 (5%) patients died. HSV was associated with substantial resource utilization. The median hospital charge was $37,431 (interquartile range: $14,667-$74,559) per infant. The presence of congenital heart disease independently increased the hospital length of stay by 93% (adjusted LOS ratio: 1.93; 95% CI: 1.5-2.5).
Conclusions: HSV infection in neonates and young infants was associated with substantial resource utilization. The presence of an underlying congenital cardiac anomaly was associated with a significantly longer length of stay and higher hospital charges.