Objectives — We sought to determine predictors of hospitalization for children presenting with croup to emergency departments (EDs), as well as predictors of repeat ED presentation and of hospital readmissions within 18 months of index admission. We also aimed to develop a practical tool to predict hospitalization risk upon ED presentation.
Methods — Multiple deterministically linked health administrative data sets from Ontario, Canada, were used to conduct this population-based cohort study between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2017. Children born between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2011, were eligible if they had 1 ED visit with a croup diagnosis. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with hospitalization, subsequent ED visits, and subsequent croup hospitalizations. A multivariable prediction tool and associated scoring system were created to predict hospitalization risk within 7 days of ED presentation.
Results — Overall, 1811 (3.3%) of the 54 981 eligible children who presented to an Ontario ED were hospitalized. Significant hospitalization predictors included age, sex, Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale score, gestational age at birth, and newborn distress. Younger patients and boys were more likely to revisit the ED for croup. Our multivariable prediction tool could forecast hospitalization up to a 32% probability for a given patient.
Conclusions — This study is the first population-based study in which predictors of hospitalization for croup based on demographic and historical factors are identified. Our prediction tool emphasized the importance of symptom severity on ED presentation but will require refinement before clinical implementation.