ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The incidence and economic burden associated with hospitalizations for pediatric hypertension in the U.S. has risen markedly, with costs exceeding $3 billion during the course of just one decade, a nationwide survey found.
Between 1997 and 2006, there was a near doubling of annual hospitalizations for hypertension among children, from 12,661 to 24,602, with the percentage of all childhood hospitalizations relating to hypertension climbing from 2.2 percent to 4 percent (P<0.0001), according to Cheryl L. Tran, MD, and colleagues from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
And the mean discharge cost for those children rose from $35,600 in 1997 to $53,500 in 2006, the researchers reported online in Hypertension.
Data on the costs incurred for children requiring inpatient treatment for hypertension and its associated conditions are sparse, so Tran's group calculated estimates from sample numbers in the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Database.
They determined that between the years 1997 and 2006, there had been 71,282 discharges with either primary or secondary codes for hypertension.
These children were typically male, ages 10 to 18, and received treatment at a teaching hospital (P<0.0001 for all).
For children with a primary diagnosis of hypertension, the most common secondary diagnoses were seizure disorder (4.7%), headache (2.6%), systemic lupus erythematosus (2.4%), and obesity (2.4%).
Children hospitalized for hypertension had twice the length of stay, at eight days, as children treated for other conditions (P<0.0001).