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Pediatric Inpatient Admissions Down During Pandemic

FRIDAY, Feb. 19, 2021 -- Inpatient pediatric admissions were down across a wide range of diagnoses during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Feb. 12 in JAMA Network Open.

Jonathan H. Pelletier, M.D., from the UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and colleagues used data from the Pediatric Health Information Systems database (49 hospitals) to analyze inpatient admissions across a range of diagnoses in 2020 compared to previous years (Jan. 1, 2010, to June 30, 2020).

The researchers identified 5,424,688 inpatient encounters among 3,372,839 patients (median age, 5.1 years; 52.1 percent boys; 58.5 percent White individuals) at 49 hospitals. Beginning in March 2020, there was a decrease seen in the number of admissions compared with the period from 2010 to 2019. Admissions in April 2020 reached the lowest point -- a 45.4 percent reduction compared with previous years (23,798 in April 2020 versus a median of 43,550 in April 2010 to 2019). Between January 2020 and June 2020, all diagnoses except for birth decreased below the model 95 percent confidence intervals. Models were able to detect seasonal patterns in admission diagnoses and accurately predict admission rates from July 2019 until December 2019, but not from January 2020 to June 2020.

"Although some conditions may have decreased in incidence, others may represent unmet needs in pediatric care during the COVID-19 pandemic," the authors write.

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