From the Journals

Comorbid depression worsens many pediatric hospital outcomes



Comorbid depression significantly increased hospitalization costs, length of stay, and mortality among pediatric patients, according to a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

A child is shown in a hospital bed, along with an IV drip ©drpnncpp/

The investigators led by Mayowa Olusunmade, MD, MPH, of New Jersey Medical School, Newark, found that, compared with those among nondepressed pediatric patients, hospitalization costs were $2,961 higher (P less than .001), length of stay was 0.89 days longer (P less than .001), and odds of death as an outcome while hospitalized was 1.77 times higher (P = .013) among depressed pediatric patients. On the other hand, depressed patients had 0.3 fewer procedures (P less than .001) than nondepressed patients.

This analysis is based on 17,073 pairs of patients with and without depression that were created through one-to-one propensity score matching. The investigators drew these pairs from an estimated 937,971 patients in the Kids’ Inpatient Database for 2012 who were identified as being aged 6 years and older and having any of the 10 of the most common diagnoses other than affective disorders. The investigators then determined which children among those identified had comorbid depression (2.9%) and which did not (97.1%) to create the propensity score–matched pairs.

One limitation in this study is that the mean age was 17.5 years because depression diagnosis is more atypical among younger patients such that adolescents were disproportionately represented.

The study did not receive funding, and the authors declared there are no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Olusunmade M et al. J Affect Disord. 2019 Mar 27. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.03.073.

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