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Severity of Illness Measures for Pediatric Inpatients

Hessels, Amanda J.; Liu, Jianfang; Cohen, Bevin; Shang, Jingjing; Larson, Elaine L.

doi: 10.1097/JHQ.0000000000000135
Original Article

Introduction: Severity of illness (SOI) measures are commonly used in adults for comparison of treatment and outcomes in similar populations. Less is known about the psychometric properties of measures available to providers and healthcare systems caring for pediatric patients. The purpose of this study was to (1) identify SOI measures used for pediatric patients admitted to acute care hospitals and (2) compare the ability of two SOI measures to predict mortality and length of stay (LOS).

Methods: Twelve instruments were identified through literature search and one, the pediatric chronic complex condition (CCC), was retained. The CCC and the Charlson/Deyo comorbidity score were applied to an 8-year retrospective, multi-institutional data set using logistic and zero-truncated negative binomial regression models.

Results: Records from 199,001 children were examined. The CCC performed better for predicting mortality (odds ratio = 3.36; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.20–3.53) and LOS (incidence rate ratio = 2.24; 95% CI: 2.22–2.26).

Conclusions: The CCC may be preferable for predicting outcomes among pediatric inpatients. Pediatric SOI measures are not extensively developed and tested nor widely and freely available. The use of the CCC can predict mortality and LOS to guide care, resource allocation, and research for the pediatric population.

For more information on this article, contact Amanda J. Hessels at

This study was part of a larger parent project funded by The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Grant #R01HS024915). A. Hessels is supported by a DHHS/CDC/NIOSH Career Development Award (1K01OH011186-01).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2018 National Association for Healthcare Quality
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