Objectives: In May 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a clinical practice guideline (CPG) defining apparent life-threatening events (ALTEs) as brief resolved unexplained events (BRUEs) and recommending risk-based management. We analyzed the association of CPG publication on admission rate, diagnostic testing, treatment, cost, length of stay (LOS), and revisits in patients with BRUE.
Methods: Using the Pediatric Health Information Systems database, we studied patients discharged from the hospital with a diagnosis of ALTE/BRUE from January 2012 to December 2019. We grouped encounters into 2 time cohorts on the basis of discharge date: preguideline (January 2012-January 2016) and postguideline (July 2016-December 2019). We used interrupted time series to test if the CPG publication was associated with level change and change in slope for each metric.
Results: The study included 27 941 hospitalizations for ALTE/BRUE from 36 hospitals. There was an early decrease in 12 diagnostic tests that the CPG strongly recommended against. There was a positive change in the use of electrocardiogram (+3.5%, P < .001), which is recommended by CPG. There was a significant reduction in admissions (-13.7%, P < .001), utilization of medications (-8.3%, P < .001), cost (-$1146.8, P < .001), and LOS (-0.2 days, P < .001), without a change in the revisit rates. In the postguideline period, there were an estimated 2678 admissions avoided out of 12 508 encounters.
Conclusions: Publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics BRUE CPG was associated with substantial reductions in testing, utilization of medications, admission rates, cost, and LOS, without a change in the revisit rates.
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