Hospital Visits for Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Patients Continue to Climb

Although the number of pediatric patients with multiple sclerosis has increased over the years, researchers recently revealed one of the first studies to offer population-based information.

Although the number of pediatric patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) has increased over the years, researchers recently revealed one of the first studies to offer population-based information.

Data from the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS) were organized and presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Washington, DC. Lead author Amy M. Lavery, MSPH, and her Department of Child Neurology in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia colleagues worked to shed light on a subject that doesn’t have a firm backing of research results.

The authors wrote that since “literature is lacking with respect to overall disease” when it comes to pediatric MS, it was time to “examine the prevalence of hospital admissions.”

From 2004 to 2013, the database revealed inpatient visits, emergency department encounters, and charges encountered from 44 children’s hospitals in the United States. The findings showed a trend in hospital visits among the affected children.

The 1,422 patients — made up of twice as many females – found in the database collectively had 2,068 hospital encounters and stayed for an average of 4 days.In 2004 pediatrics MS patientschecked into the hospital an average of 2.37 times, however, that number jumped to 4.13 in 2013. Also, for every 10,000 hospital check-ins the cause associating with MS has increased from 3.47 to 5.95.

The reason behind the rate surge, the authors noted, could be attributed to the addition of pediatric MS centers and awareness.

“A test for trend showed a steady, significant increase in encounters for MS,” the team said, which raises the question if that number will continue to grow.

For children ages 11 and younger, the amount of MS cases has stayed the same while ages 11 to 15 and 15 and older has steadily increased. This study may be one of the first to address pediatric MS hospitalizations, however, it won’t be the last.

“Further analyses will incorporate pharmacy data and investigate factors contributing to healthcare utilization and hospital admission rates,” the study concluded.