Pediatric facial fractures: current national incidence, distribution, and health care resource use

Raj M Vyas, Brian P Dickinson, Kristy L Wasson, Jason Roostaeian, James P Bradley
Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 2008, 19 (2): 339-49; discussion 350
To date, reports on the incidence and distribution of pediatric facial fractures have been inconsistent and have originated only from institutional studies. The need for current national data exists. We examined the Kids' Inpatient Database and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample to obtain national information on facial fracture discharges from 1997 to 2003. Data showed that pediatric patients (age, 0-17 years) make up 14.7% of all facial fractures, with children aged 1 to 4 years comprising only 5.6% of the total and children 15 to 17 years old making up more than half the group. The male-to-female ratio was 2.5. Significantly lengthier hospitalizations were observed with female patients, Medicaid insurance, teaching hospitals, government hospitals, and metropolitan hospitals. Significantly higher charges were associated with patients aged 1 to 4 years, Medicaid insurance, Western US geography, teaching hospitals, metropolitan hospitals, and children's hospitals. During the 6-year period of this study, there was a trend toward (1) increased hospital charges (with stable costs), (2) more patients treated at teaching hospitals, and (3) a convergence in length of stay between hospitals with differing ownerships (with government hospitals having progressively shorter hospitalizations, whereas private for-profit hospitals have progressively lengthier hospitalizations). The incidence of facial fractures in children is small yet significant and has remained stable during the past few decades. Certain patient populations are prone to facial fractures, and various patient and hospital factors are associated with lengthier and more expensive hospitalizations. An understanding of disparities in resource use among various patient, hospital, and geographic settings is critical for physicians and policy makers.

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