Study Summarizes Hospitalization Trends in Children With Pulmonary Hypertension

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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In a new study entitled “Trends in Hospitalization for Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension,” researchers performed a retrospective study where they analyzed data concerning hospitalizations of children with pulmonary hypertension. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

Pulmonary hypertension is a condition in which high blood pressure affects the arteries in the lungs, causing severe consequences to the heart muscle, which needs to work harder in order to pump blood through the lungs. Ultimately, this can lead to a weakened heart muscle with possible heart failure. Pulmonary hypertension, which requires admission to a hospital, is a significant cause of death and morbidity in children. However, a closer look into inpatient care has been limited to small single-institutions or focused on registries of selected patient subgroups. Therefore, authors hypothesized that by using the national administrative database of pediatric hospital discharges, they could summarize and identify the current data concerning pulmonary hypertension pediatric hospitalization. Specifically, authors focused on disease palliative care in order to raise awareness of improving the management of resource utilization from hospitals.

The researchers determined that from the pool of pediatric hospitalizations occurring in the United States (between 1997 and 2012), which in total registered 43 million, 0.13% was due to pulmonary hypertension. They observed that the proportion of children with pulmonary hypertension but without associated congenital heart disease increased and represented the highest proportion of hospitalized patients (specifically, 56.4%) during the analyzed period. This group was the fastest-growing subgroup admitted in urban teaching hospitals. The all-cause mortality group of children hospitalized was high in children with pulmonary hypertension but it showed a tendency to decrease.

The authors highlight that their retrospective analyses show that morbidity and mortality of pediatric pulmonary hypertension is still a substantial and growing health burden. The increase of children with pulmonary hypertension not associated with congenital heart disease and the need for care in urban hospitals represents an added burden to already limited care-facilities. As a result, authors highlight that there is a need to continue to improve pulmonary hypertension diagnostics and care throughout all clinical facilities that may represent receive children with pulmonary hypertension.