Background and objective: Despite paediatric bronchiectasis being recognized increasingly worldwide, prior reports of hospitalization costs for bronchiectasis in children are lacking. This study aimed to (i) identify health service costs of hospitalizations and (ii) factors associated with these costs in children admitted to an Australian paediatric hospital following an acute exacerbation of their bronchiectasis.
Methods: Demographic and hospital resource use data were prospectively recorded for 100 hospitalizations in 80 children aged <18 years admitted consecutively to the QCH, Brisbane, Australia. Costs (2016 AUD) were obtained from the hospital's Finance Department. Linear regressions, with bootstrap resampling to quantify uncertainty, were used to estimate factors affecting cost of hospitalization.
Results: The 100 hospitalizations (48 males) had a median (IQR) age of 6.04 (4.04–9.85) years. Their mean (SD) LOS was 12.30 (4.60) days. The mean (SD) direct health service cost was AUD 30 182 (13 998) per hospitalization. The greatest contributor to costs was health professional wages, accounting for 70% of the cost per episode. LOS, younger age at admission and number of bronchiectatic lobes affected were associated with higher costs, whilst HITH service was associated with lower cost. The cost to families on average was AUD 2669.50 (SD: 991.50) per hospitalization when accounting for lost wages and opportunity cost.
Conclusion: The per episode healthcare cost burden of hospitalizations for paediatric bronchiectasis exacerbations is substantial. Interventions that prevent hospitalized exacerbations and reduce severity of childhood bronchiectasis with even moderate effectiveness are likely to result in substantial hospital costs savings.