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Healthcare cost attributable to bronchiolitis: a population-based cohort study


Objective — To determine 1-year attributable healthcare costs of bronchiolitis.

Methods — Using a population-based matched cohort and incidence-based cost analysis approach, we identified infants <12 months old diagnosed in an emergency department (ED) or hospitalized with bronchiolitis between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2014. We propensity-score matched infants with and without bronchiolitis on sex, age, income quintile, rurality, co-morbidities, gestational weeks, small-for-gestational-age status and pre-index healthcare cost deciles. We calculated mean attributable 1-year costs using a generalized estimating equation model and stratified costs by age, sex, income quintile, rurality, co-morbidities and prematurity.

Results — We identified 58,375 infants with bronchiolitis (mean age 154±95 days, 61.3% males, 4.2% with comorbidities). Total 1-year mean bronchiolitis-attributable costs were $4,313 per patient (95%CI: $4,148-4,477), with $2,847 (95%CI: $2,712-2,982) spent on hospitalizations, $610 (95%CI: $594-627) on physician services, $562 (95%CI: $556-567)] on ED visits, $259 (95%CI: $222-297) on other healthcare costs and $35 ($27-42) on drugs. Attributable bronchiolitis costs were $2,765 (95%CI: $2735-2,794) vs $111 (95%CI: $102-121) in the initial 10 days post index date, $4,695 (95%CI: $4,589-4,800) vs $910 (95%CI: $847-973) in the initial 180 days and $1,158 (95%CI: $1,104-1213) vs $639 (95%CI: $599-679) during days 181-360. Mean 1-year bronchiolitis costs were higher in infants <3 months old [$5,536 (95%CI: $5,216-5,856)], those with co-morbidities [$17,530 (95%CI: $14,683-20,377)] and with low birthweight [$5,509 (95%CI: $4,927-6,091)].

Conclusions — Compared to no bronchiolitis, bronchiolitis incurs five-time and two-time higher healthcare costs within the initial and subsequent six-months, respectively. Most expenses occur in the initial 10 days and relate to hospitalization.



Sander B, Finkelstein Y, Lu H, Nagamuthu C, Graves E, Ramsay LC, Kwong JC, Schuh S. PLoS One. 2021; 16(12):e0260809. Epub 2021 Dec 2.

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