Hospital factors associated with higher costs in pediatric blunt abdominal trauma: A national study

J Pediatr Surg. 2019 Aug;54(8):1621-1627. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2018.12.012. Epub 2019 Jan 22.


Background/purpose: Our objective was to evaluate hospital factors, including children's hospital status, associated with higher costs for blunt solid organ pediatric abdominal trauma.

Methods: We queried the 2012 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Kid's Inpatient Database (KID) for patients 18 years or younger with low-grade and high-grade blunt abdominal trauma. We calculated total hospital costs and adjusted cost ratios (CR) controlling for patient and hospital-level characteristics.

Results: The 2012 KID included 882 low-grade and 222 high-grade pediatric abdominal trauma patients. Median (interquartile range) per hospitalization costs were similar at children's and nonchildren's hospitals for both low-grade (children's = $6575 [$4333-$10,862], nonchildren's $7027 [$4230-$12,219] p = 0.47) and high-grade (children's = $10,984 [$6211- $20,007] nonchildren's $10,156 [$5439-$18,404] p = 0.55) groups. Adjusted cost ratios demonstrated higher costs in the West and among investor owned hospitals for low-grade and high-grade injuries, respectively. Costs at rural hospitals were higher in both groups (low-grade CR = 2.35 95% CI 2.02, 2.74, high-grade CR = 2.78 95% CI 2.13, 3.63) compared to urban teaching hospitals. Cost ratios did not differ based on children's hospital status.

Conclusion: Hospital costs were similar for children's and nonchildren's hospitals caring for pediatric abdominal trauma. Costs at rural hospitals are higher and may suggest financial instability or nonstandardized care of pediatric trauma patients.

Level of evidence: III.

Keywords: Abdominal trauma; Children's hospital; Cost; Pediatric trauma; Rural hospital.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries* / economics
  • Abdominal Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hospital Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating* / economics
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating* / epidemiology