Hospitalization Cost Model of Pediatric Surgical Treatment of Chiari Type 1 Malformation

Sandi K. Lam, Rory R. Mayer, Thomas G. Luerssen, I. Wen Pan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives To develop a cost model for hospitalization costs of surgery among children with Chiari malformation type 1 (CM-1) and to examine risk factors for increased costs. Study design Data were extracted from the US National Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project 2009 Kids’ Inpatient Database. The study cohort was comprised of patients aged 0-20 years who underwent CM-1 surgery. Patient charges were converted to costs by cost-to-charge ratios. Simple and multivariable generalized linear models were used to construct cost models and to determine factors associated with increased hospital costs of CM-1 surgery. Results A total of 1075 patients were included. Median age was 11 years (IQR 5-16 years). Payers included public (32.9%) and private (61.5%) insurers. Median wage-adjusted cost and length-of-stay for CM-1 surgery were US $13 598 (IQR $10 475-$18 266) and 3 days (IQR 3-4 days). Higher costs were found at freestanding children's hospitals: average incremental-increased cost (AIIC) was US $5155 (95% CI $2067-$8749). Factors most associated with increased hospitalization costs were patients with device-dependent complex chronic conditions (AIIC $20 617, 95% CI $13 721-$29 026) and medical complications (AIIC $13 632, 95% CI $7163-$21 845). Neurologic and neuromuscular, metabolic, gastrointestinal, and other congenital genetic defect complex chronic conditions were also associated with higher hospital costs. Conclusions This study examined cost drivers for surgery for CM-1; the results may serve as a starting point in informing the development of financial risk models, such as bundled payments or prospective payment systems for these procedures. Beyond financial implications, the study identified specific risk factors associated with increased costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-210.e3
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Chiari malformation
  • cost analysis
  • cost model
  • pediatric
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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