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Hosp Pediatr. 2015 Sep;5(9):461-73. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2014-0246.

Risk Factors for Prolonged Length of Stay or Complications During Pediatric Respiratory Hospitalizations.

Author information

Departments of Pediatrics,
Department of Paediatrics, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Departments of Pediatrics.
Medicine, and.
Departments of Pediatrics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Phillip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California; and.



Respiratory illnesses are the leading cause of pediatric hospitalizations in the United States, and a major focus of efforts to improve quality of care. Understanding factors associated with poor outcomes will allow better targeting of interventions for improving care. The objective of this study was to identify patient and hospital factors associated with prolonged length of stay (LOS) or complications during pediatric hospitalizations for asthma or lower respiratory infection (LRI).


Cross-sectional study of hospitalizations of patients <18 years with asthma or LRI (bronchiolitis, influenza, or pneumonia) by using the nationally representative 2012 Kids Inpatient Database. We used multivariable logistic regression models to identify factors associated with prolonged LOS (>90th percentile) or complications (noninvasive ventilation, mechanical ventilation, or death).


For asthma hospitalizations(n = 85 320), risks for both prolonged LOS and complications were increased with each year of age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.06, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.07; AOR 1.05, 95% CI 1.03-1.07, respectively for each outcome) and in children with chronic conditions (AOR 4.87, 95% CI 4.15-5.70; AOR 21.20, 95% CI 15.20-29.57, respectively). For LRI hospitalizations (n = 204 950), risks for prolonged LOS and complications were decreased with each year of age (AOR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97-0.98; AOR 0.95, 95% CI 0.94-0.96, respectively) and increased in children with chronic conditions (AOR 9.86, 95% CI 9.03-10.76; AOR 56.22, 95% CI 46.60-67.82, respectively). Risks for prolonged LOS for asthma were increased in large hospitals (AOR 1.67, 95% CI 1.32-2.11) and urban-teaching hospitals (AOR 1.62, 95% CI 1.33-1.97).


Older children with asthma, younger children with LRI, children with chronic conditions, and those hospitalized in large urban-teaching hospitals are more vulnerable to prolonged LOS and complications. Future research and policy efforts should evaluate and support interventions to improve outcomes for these high-risk groups (eg, hospital-based care coordination for children with chronic conditions).

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