Characteristics Associated with Pediatric Inpatient Death

More than half of all childhood deaths occur in hospitals. By analyzing data on pediatric inpatient deaths at academic children’s hospitals, researchers can determine conditions and circumstance to improve mortality rates.

Patient characteristics, such as age, severity and diagnosis were all substantive factors associated with the death of children.

Among the findings:

  • The 30 most common APR-DRGs (all patient-refined diagnosis-related groups) accounted for 52.5 percent of all diagnoses and 8.4 percent of total deaths.
  • The most frequent APR-DGRs were asthma, seizure, bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
  • Neonates had the highest mortality rate, followed by children 18 to 21 years old. Children 6 to 12 had the lowest mortality rate. Males died more frequently than females.
  • There were no significant mortality rate differences among racial groups.
  • Ranked according to frequency of deaths, the majority of diagnoses dealt with neonatal care.

Using the standardized mortality ratio (SMR)—the observed or expected mortality ratios adjusted for children’s hospitals— a benchmark for hospital performance and quality, researchers found considerable variability among the 37 hospitals in the study. These variations can help institutions identify those patients at high risk of dying and help focus efforts and resources to improve outcomes for those patients.