Hospital costs and cost implications of co-morbid conditions for patients with single ventricle in the period through to Fontan completion



      Patients undergoing palliative surgeries for single-ventricle conditions are affected by multiple comorbidities or non-cardiac conditions. The prevalence, costs and the cost implications of these conditions have not been assessed.


      Administrative costing records from four hospitals in Australia and New Zealand were linked with the Fontan registry database to analyze the inpatient resource use for co-morbid or non-cardiac conditions. Inpatient costing records from the birth year through to Fontan completion were available for 156 patients. The most frequent primary diagnoses were hypoplastic left heart syndrome (33%), double inlet left ventricle (13%), and tricuspid atresia (12%).


      During the staged surgical treatment period, children had a mean of 10 ± 6 inpatient admissions and spent 85 ± 64 days in hospital. Among these admissions, 3 ± 5 were for non-cardiac conditions, totaling 21 ± 41 inpatient days. Whilst cardiac surgeries were the major reason for resource use (77% of the total cost), other cardiac care that is not surgical contributed 5% and non-cardiac admissions 18% of the total cost. The three most prevalent non-cardiac diagnostic admission categories were ‘Respiratory system’, ‘Digestive system’, and ‘Ear, nose, mouth and throat’, affecting 28%, 21% and 34% of the patients respectively. Multivariate regression estimated that admissions for each of these categories resulted in an increased cost of $34,563 (P = 0.08), $52,438 (P = 0.05) and $10,525 (P = 0.53) per patient respectively for the staged surgical treatment period.


      Non-cardiac admissions for single-ventricle patients are common and have substantial resource implications. Further research assessing the causes of admission and extent to which admissions are preventable is warranted.


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