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Hosp Pediatr. 2014 Mar;4(2):88-92. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2013-0066.

Inpatient hospitalizations for croup.

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Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and.



Croup is a common childhood respiratory illness that can result in hospitalization and significant morbidity. This study reviewed records of patients hospitalized with croup to determine characteristics associated with increased inpatient treatment and length of stay (LOS).


Eligible patients were admitted between January 2006 and December 2010 and had discharge diagnosis of croup. Patients were included if they received either racemic epinephrine or systemic corticosteroids during their emergency department or hospital treatment. Patients were excluded for incomplete data on medication or vital signs timing. Hospitalization and treatment decisions were at the discretion of the treating physician.


The study analyzed 365 hospitalizations involving 327 patients, 72% male, 62% white, with median age of 16.7 months. Median LOS was 31.7 hours. Patients required racemic epinephrine treatments after hospitalization in 179 cases (49%; mean, 1.33 treatments; range, 0-13; median, 0), and 176 patients (48%) received a dose of systemic corticosteroids after hospital admission. Patients who required racemic epinephrine treatments after hospitalization were indistinguishable from those who did not, based on demographics, past history, or presenting vital signs. Patients with history of croup, history of intubation, or with oxygen saturation <95% on presentation all had increased LOS compared with those without these findings (P < .05).


Fifty-one percent of patients hospitalized with croup did not require inpatient racemic epinephrine treatments. Those with lower oxygen saturations on presentation or past history of croup or intubation were more likely to have prolonged or complicated hospital course.


croup; dexamethasone; laryngotracheobronchitis; racemic epinephrine

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