Factors associated with length of stay and hospital charges for patients hospitalized with mouth cellulitis

Min Kyeong Kim, Romesh P Nalliah, Min Kyeong Lee, Veerasathpurush Allareddy
Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology 2012, 113 (1): 21-8

OBJECTIVE: Dental conditions that are neglected could progress to infectious lesions that are severe enough to require hospital admission for treatment. The objective of this study was to examine outcomes in patients hospitalized for cellulitis and abscesses of mouth in the USA in year 2008.

STUDY DESIGN: The nationwide inpatient sample for the year 2008, a component database of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, was used for the current study. All hospital discharges with a primary diagnosis for cellulitis or abscess of mouth (ICD-9-CM code 528.3) were selected for analysis. Outcomes, including length of stay in hospital (LOS) and hospitalization charges, were computed from the database and projected to national levels by using the discharge weight variable. The predictor variables were composed of sets of heterogeneous variables grouped into the following categories: demographic, health-related (comorbid conditions), hospital-specific, and insurance-related. The primary outcome variables were LOS and hospital charges. Multivariable linear regression analysis models were used to examine the association between predictor and outcome variables.

RESULTS: A total of 4,044 hospital discharges were attributed primarily to cellulitis or abscess of mouth. About 45% of these discharges occurred in those aged between 18 and 45 years. The mean length of stay in hospital was 3.9 days, and the mean hospital charge was $24,290. The total USA hospitalization charge was close to $98 million. Private insurance plans were the major payers, accounting for $31 million of hospitalization charges. About 88% of all hospitalization were discharged routinely after treatment, and 2% were transfered to another short-term hospital.

CONCLUSIONS: This study examines outcomes in patients hospitalized for cellulitis or abscess of mouth. Future studies must focus on identifying cohorts that are more prone to developing odontogenic infections that are severe enough to warrant hospitalization.

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