Healthcare Burden and Cost in Children with Anorectal Malformation During the First 5 Years of Life

J Pediatr. 2022 Jan:240:122-128.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2021.08.083. Epub 2021 Sep 3.


Objective: To identify cumulative 5-year healthcare costs and healthcare days in children with anorectal malformation (ARM) and to compare the cumulative 5-year healthcare costs and healthcare days in children with ARM with 3 control cohorts: healthy, premature, and congenital heart disease (CHD).

Study design: We performed a retrospective case-control study using the Truven MarketScan database of commercial claims encounters between 2008 and 2017. The ARM, CHD, and premature cohorts were identified using a targeted list of International Classification of Diseases 9th or 10th Revision diagnosis and Current Procedural Terminology codes. The healthy cohort included patients without ARM, preterm birth, or CHD.

Results: We identified 664 children with ARM, 3356 children with heart disease, 63 190 children who were born preterm, and 2947 healthy patients. At 5 years, the total healthcare costs of children with ARM ($273K, 95% CI $168K-$378K) were similar to the premature cohort ($246K, 95% CI $237K-$255K) and lower than the CHD cohort ($466K, 95% CI $401K-$530K, P < .001). Total healthcare days were similar in children with ARM (158 days, 95% CI 117-198) and prematurity (141 days, 95% CI 137-144) but lower than CHD (223 days, 95% CI 197-250, P = .02). In ARM, outpatient care (126 days, 95% CI 93-159) represented the largest contribution to total healthcare days.

Conclusions: Children with ARM accumulate similar healthcare costs to children with prematurity and comparable healthcare days to children with CHD and prematurity in the first 5 years of life. Outpatient care represents the majority of healthcare days in children with ARM, identifying this as a target for quality improvement and demonstrating the long-term impact of this condition.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anorectal Malformations / economics*
  • Anorectal Malformations / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology