OBJECTIVES: To describe variation in the care of children hospitalized with orbital cellulitis and to determine associations with length of stay (LOS), emergency department (ED) revisits, and hospital readmissions. METHODS: By using the Pediatric Health Information System, we performed a multicenter, retrospective study of children aged 2 months to 18 years with a primary International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification discharge diagnosis code for orbital cellulitis from 2007 to 2014. We assessed hospital-level variation in the use of diagnostic tests, corticosteroids, and antibiotics individually and in aggregate for association with outcomes (LOS, ED revisits, readmissions) after risk-adjusting for important clinical and demographic factors. RESULTS: A total of 1828 children met inclusion criteria. Complete blood cell counts (median [interquartile range]: 81.8% [66.7-89.6]), C-reactive protein levels (57.1% [22.2-84.0]), blood cultures (57.9% [48.9-63.6]), and computed tomography imaging (74.7% [66.7-81.0]) were the most frequently performed diagnostic tests, with significant variation observed across hospitals (all P, .001). Corticosteroids were used in 29.2% of children (interquartile range: 18.4-37.5). There was significant variation in antibiotic exposure across hospitals (P, .001). Increased total diagnostic test usage was associated with increased LOS (P 5 .044), but not with 30-day ED revisits (P 5 .176) or readmissions (P 5 .403). CONCLUSIONS: Children hospitalized with orbital cellulitis experience wide variation in clinical management. Increased hospital-level usage is associated with increased LOS. Our findings highlight a critical need to identify treatment strategies that optimize resource use and outcomes for children hospitalized with orbital cellulitis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health