Background: Patients undergoing palliative surgeries for single-ventricle conditions are affected by multiple comorbidities or non-cardiac conditions. The prevalence, costs and the cost implications of these conditions have not been assessed.
Methods: Administrative costing records from four hospitals in Australia and New Zealand were linked with the Fontan registry database to analyze the inpatient resource use for co-morbid or non-cardiac conditions. Inpatient costing records from the birth year through to Fontan completion were available for 156 patients. The most frequent primary diagnoses were hypoplastic left heart syndrome (33%), double inlet left ventricle (13%), and tricuspid atresia (12%).
Results: During the staged surgical treatment period, children had a mean of 10±6 inpatient admissions and spent 85±64days in hospital. Among these admissions, 3±5 were for non-cardiac conditions, totaling 21±41 inpatient days. Whilst cardiac surgeries were the major reason for resource use (77% of the total cost), other cardiac care that is not surgical contributed 5% and non-cardiac admissions 18% of the total cost. The three most prevalent non-cardiac diagnostic admission categories were 'Respiratory system', 'Digestive system', and 'Ear, nose, mouth and throat', affecting 28%, 21% and 34% of the patients respectively. Multivariate regression estimated that admissions for each of these categories resulted in an increased cost of $34,563 (P=0.08), $52,438 (P=0.05) and $10,525 (P=0.53) per patient respectively for the staged surgical treatment period.
Conclusions: Non-cardiac admissions for single-ventricle patients are common and have substantial resource implications. Further research assessing the causes of admission and extent to which admissions are preventable is warranted.
Keywords: Congenital heart disease; Health services; Hospital cost; Single-ventricle.
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