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Archivos argentinos de pediatría

Print version ISSN 0325-0075On-line version ISSN 1668-3501


ROWENSZTEIN, Hernán; DEMIRDJIAN, Graciela  and  RODRIGUEZ, Josefa. Carga de enfermedad y costos asociados a las internaciones por infección respiratoria aguda en niños. Arch. argent. pediatr. [online]. 2007, vol.105, n.1, pp.5-11. ISSN 0325-0075.

Introduction. One per cent of infants have to be hospitalized due to a lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), mainly bronchial obstruction and pneumonia. This often causes families to demand attention at a reference health care center, resulting in an inadequate use of hospital resources and unnecessary expenses and increasing the burden of associated diseases. Objectives. 1) To estimate the economic burden imposed on families by LRTI hospitalizations; 2) To undertake an economic evaluation of costs associated with a LRTI hospitalization in a third level center versus a first level center; 3) To explore the reasons that induce the population to seek care for this disease in referral centers. Population. All patients aged 0-10 years hospitalized for LRTI in three regional hospitals from the outskirts of Buenos Aires sanitary regions V, VI, and VIIª and the Hospital de Pediatría "Prof. Dr. Juan P. Garrahan". Methods. This is a prospective, observational, crosssectional descriptive study. During the winter season of 2004 (June to August), a semistructured survey was conducted by means of an interview to all families of eligible children admitted to the four participating hospitals. Results. Data were obtained on a sample of 384 patients. Travel time and expenses were significantly higher for patients hospitalized at the third level center (p< 0.0001). Although average length of stay was one day higher at the three regional hospitals (p= 0.02), mean expenditure for families was significantly higher at the referral hospital ($158,32= 25,57% of familiar income) compared to the first level hospitals ($124,76= 20.89% of familiar income; p= 0.048). Conclusion. Admission to a third level hospital raised the economic burden for families in spite of lower hospitalization times. Higher costs were mainly due to travel and additional expenses during hospitalization.

Keywords : Respiratory infections; Costs; Burden of illness.

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