BACKGROUND: Few data exist on prevalence, morbidity, and mortality of pediatric heart failure hospitalizations. We tested the hypotheses that pediatric heart failure–related hospitalizations increased over time but that mortality decreased. Factors associated with mortality and length of stay were also assessed.
METHODS AND RESULTS: A retrospective analysis of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Database was performed for pediatric (age ≤18 years) heart failure–related hospitalizations for the years 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006. Hospitalizations did not significantly increase over time, ranging from 11,153 (95% confidence interval [CI] 8,898–13,409) in 2003 to 13,892 (95% CI 11,528–16,256) in 2006. Hospital length of stay increased from 1997 (mean 13.8 days, 95% CI 12.5–15.2) to 2006 (mean 19.4 days, 95% CI 18.2 to 20.6). Hospital mortality was 7.3% (95% CI 6.9–8.0) and did not vary significantly between years; however, risk-adjusted mortality was less in 2006 (odds ratio 0.70, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.80). The greatest risk of mortality occurred with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, acute renal failure, and sepsis.
CONCLUSIONS: Heart failure–related hospitalizations occur in 11,000–14,000 children annually in the United States, with an overall mortality of 7%. Many comorbid conditions influenced hospital mortality.