Risk factors associated with recent opioid-related hospitalizations in children: a nationwide analysis

Anthony Ferrantella, Carlos T. Huerta, Kirby Quinn, Ana C. Mavarez, Hallie J. Quiroz, Chad M. Thorson, Eduardo A. Perez, Juan E. Sola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Identifying at-risk children can provide a crucial opportunity for preventative measures to avoid opioid addiction. This study sought to determine at-risk pediatric patients that were previously hospitalized due to other causes prior to their opioid-related admission. Methods: The Nationwide Readmissions Database (2010–2014) was queried for children 1–18 years old with an opioid-related hospitalization. Previous admissions (up to 1 year prior) and associated diagnoses were compared. Results were weighted for national estimates. Results: 51,349 opioid-related hospitalizations were identified with an overall in-hospital mortality of 0.8%. Seventeen percent had a previous admission during the same calendar year of which 44% had > 1 and 11% had ≥ 5 prior admissions. Only 4% of prior admissions occurred at a different hospital. Males and females were equally represented, and 82% were ≥ 13 years old. Only 16% of previously admitted patients underwent a major surgical procedure during a previous hospitalization. The most common concomitant diagnoses for patients with prior hospitalizations were drug abuse (37%), chronic pulmonary disease (18%), and depression (10%). Conclusion: Opioid-related hospitalizations often occur among children with multiple recent admissions, usually to the same hospital. Most patients do not have a history of cancer or recent surgery to account for their opioid use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-851
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Opioid-related hospitalizations
  • Pediatric opioid addiction
  • Pediatric pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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