The number of U.S. children who were hospitalized due to food-induced anaphylaxis more than doubled between 2000 and 2009, according to a new study, which was published online Aug. 7 by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. In addition, the authors report that the “charges and costs of [food-induced anaphylaxis] admissions have increased dramatically over time, adding to an emerging literature on the large economic burden of food allergy in the United States.”
The authors, including Carlos A. Camargo, MD (Harvard Medical School), previous recipient of a FARE research grant, analyzed records for more than 12 million inpatient discharges from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Kids’ Inpatient Database. HCUP is part of a family of healthcare databases sponsored by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Hospitalizations (admissions) due to food-induced anaphylaxis rose from 1,085 in 2000 to 2,253 in 2009. Throughout this period, demographics remained consistent: the average age of patients was around eight; in 2000, 56 percent were male, vs. 55 percent in 2009; and there were no significant changes in the make-up of patients’ races or ethnicities. Overall, the highest hospitalization rates were in the Northeast, and the lowest were in the South. Except for children who were two years old or younger, significant increases in hospitalization were seen in all age groups. While the average length of patients’ hospital stay remained stable (from 2.3 days in 2000 to 1.9 days in 2009), the researchers report that “total charges more than tripled over the 10-year period, and total costs (data available 2003-2009) also significantly increased.” They conclude that “this trend highlights the need for further research on the inpatient management of [food-induced anaphylaxis] and how to prevent these hospitalizations.”