(HealthDay News) — There is an increasing health care burden associated with morbidity and mortality of pediatric pulmonary hypertension (PH), according to a study published online July 6 in Pediatrics.

Bryan G. Maxwell, MD, MPH, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues examined trends in volume, demographics, procedures performed during admission, and resource utilization for patients with PH. Data were obtained from a national administrative database of pediatric hospital discharges: the Kids’ Inpatient Database.

The researchers found that children with PH accounted for 0.13% of the 43 million U.S. pediatric hospitalizations from 1997–2012, with an increasing trend in discharges over the study period (P<0.0001). From 1997–2012 there was an increase in cumulative, inflation-adjusted national hospital charges for PH hospitalizations (P=0.0003), from $926 million to $3.12 billion. Over the study period, patients with PH without congenital heart disease (CHD) comprised an increasing and majority (56.4%) proportion (P<0.0001); the fastest-growing subgroup was children without associated CHD admitted at urban teaching hospitals. Children with PH had high in-hospital, all-cause mortality (5.9%), but exhibited an decreasing trend (P<0.0001).

“These results have practice and policy implications at the institutional, state, and national levels, particularly in the face of increasing pressure to restrain costs while caring for a population with increasingly complex medical needs,” the authors write.

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