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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998 Oct;152(10):977-84.

A cost-saving algorithm for children hospitalized for status asthmaticus.

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  • 1Children's Hospital of Buffalo, Lung Center, NY, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test the ability of an assessment-driven algorithm for treatment of pediatric status asthmaticus to reduce length and cost of hospitalization.

DESIGN:

Nonrandomized, prospective, controlled trial.

SETTING:

Tertiary care children's hospital.

PATIENTS:

Children aged 1 to 18 years hospitalized for status asthmaticus; 104 were treated using the asthma care algorithm (intervention) and 97 using unstructured standard treatment (control).

INTERVENTION:

Patients were treated using either an assessment-based algorithm or standard care practices. The algorithm group was treated with standard medications (aerosolized albuterol, systemic corticosteroids, epinephrine, ipratropium) administered at a frequency driven by the patient's clinical condition. Specific criteria were outlined for decreasing or augmenting therapy, transferring to intensive care, and discharging to home. A unique patient record containing assessments, algorithm cues, and a treatment record was used. Intervention group patients were interviewed by telephone 1 week after discharge.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Hospital length of stay, cost per hospitalization, relapse rate, protocol adherence.

RESULTS:

Average hospital stay for intervention patients was significantly shorter than for control patients (2.0 vs 2.9 days, P<.001). Although intervention patients received fewer aerosolized albuterol doses than controls, there was no difference in short-term relapse rate between groups. The intervention saved more than $700 per patient in hospital charges. Adherence to the protocol was excellent, with only 8 variances per patient stay out of more than 150 opportunities.

CONCLUSION:

An intensive, assessment-driven algorithm for pediatric status asthmaticus significantly reduces hospital length of stay and costs without increasing morbidity.

PMID:
9790607
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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