MONDAY, Oct. 30, 2023 (HealthDay News) — During the COVID-19 pandemic era, pediatric bronchiolitis hospitalizations decreased transiently, then increased, according to a study published online Oct. 26 in JAMA Network Open.
Kailey A. Remien, D.O., from Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study using data from 41 U.S. children’s hospitals in the Pediatric Health Information System database to analyze changes in patterns of bronchiolitis admissions for patients aged younger than 2 years admitted between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2023. Data were included for 400,801 bronchiolitis admissions among 349,609 patients.
The researchers found that during the prepandemic era, hospitalizations increased gradually, then decreased 69.2 percent in the 2020 to 2021 season and increased 75.3 percent in the 2022 to 2023 season. Compared with the prepandemic era, patients in the pandemic era were older (median, 7 versus 6 months). From the prepandemic era to the pandemic era, there was a significant increase seen in intensive care unit admissions from 32.2 to 36.7 percent. During the pandemic era, the seasonality of bronchiolitis admissions changed, with admissions peaking in August 2021 (actual versus forecasted: 5,036 versus 943) and November 2022 (actual versus forecasted: 10,120 versus 5,268). In sensitivity analyses excluding children with complex chronic conditions and excluding repeat admissions, these findings were unchanged.
“The seasonality of bronchiolitis admissions does not yet appear to be stable, and U.S. hospitals should prepare for the possibility of atypical timing again in 2023,” the authors write.
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