Hospital costs and cost implications of co-morbid conditions for patients with single ventricle in the period through to Fontan completion

Int J Cardiol. 2017 Aug 1;240:178-182. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.04.056. Epub 2017 Apr 20.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Databases, Factual / trends
  • Female
  • Fontan Procedure / economics*
  • Fontan Procedure / trends
  • Hospital Costs* / trends
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Hospitalization / trends
  • Humans
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / economics*
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / surgery
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Registries
  • Tricuspid Atresia / economics*
  • Tricuspid Atresia / epidemiology
  • Tricuspid Atresia / surgery