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Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2000 Oct;1(2):127-32.

Severity assessment in children hospitalized with bronchiolitis using the pediatric component of the Comprehensive Severity Index.

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Division of Pediatric Critical Care, University of Virginia Children's Medical Center, Charlottesville, USA.



Practice variation in the management of children hospitalized with bronchiolitis may result in significant differences in resource utilization. Determination of cost-effective care requires an objective means of adjusting for severity. We examined the correlation of the pediatric component of the Comprehensive Severity Index (CSI) with resource utilization in children hospitalized with bronchiolitis at ten children's medical centers.


Demographics, clinical findings, laboratory results, interventions, and outcomes were retrospectively extracted from the charts of 804 consecutive children with International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision codes for bronchiolitis from 10 children's medical centers. Comorbidities of prematurity, heart disease, and a prior history of wheezing or hospitalization, and the viral etiology of the illness were specifically examined. CSI scoring was performed at admission and maximum and correlated with patient variables and measures of resource utilization (hospital costs, length of stay, pediatric intensive care unit admission, and intubation). The performance of CSI relative to the Pediatric Risk of Mortality III was also evaluated.


Ten tertiary children's medical centers.




One child died and >99% of children returned to their baseline state of health. Admission CSI was comparable to the aggregate of all patient variables in its correlation with hospital costs (r2 = 0.23 vs. r2 = 0.24, respectively) and lengths of stay (r2 = 0.23 vs. r2 = 0.24, respectively). Maximum CSI had the highest correlation coefficient with hospital costs (r2 = 0.42) and lengths of stay (r2 = 0.41), whereas the correlation of admission Pediatric Risk of Mortality III scores with costs was r2 = 0.12 and with lengths of stay was r2 = 0.07. CSI scores also correlated well with measures of resource utilization in subgroups of bronchiolitis patients with comorbidities or other risk factors for severe disease.


CSI scores correlate well with resource use in pediatric patients hospitalized with bronchiolitis. This severity scoring system may be useful in assessing the cost-effectiveness of their care.

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