To study cervical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections using a national database with the goal of providing normative data and identifying variations in resource utilization.
Retrospective review using a pediatric national data set (Kids' Inpatient Database 2009).
Inclusion criteria were admissions with International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification, codes for both MRSA and specific neck and pharyngeal infections.
There were 26 829 admissions with MRSA; 3571 included a head and neck infection. The mean (SE) age at admission was 7.72 (0.20) years. Most patients (65.0%) were in the lower 2 socioeconomic quartiles; the most common payer was Medicaid (53.3%). The mean total charge per admission was $20 442. The mean (SE) length of stay (LOS) was 4.39 (0.15) days; there were significant differences among age (P < .001) and racial (P < .001) groups. A total of 1671 children underwent at least 1 surgical drainage procedure; there were statistically significant differences among racial (P < .001), age (P < .001), and socioeconomic (P = .048) groups. There were no regional variations in resource utilization when LOS, number of procedures, and total hospital charges were compared.
Cervical MRSA infections have a large socioeconomic impact across the nation. There are differences among the various races in resource utilization. Younger children have longer hospitalizations, are more likely to need surgery, and require more intubations. Children from the lowest socioeconomic group require surgery more frequently, but their LOS is not statistically different when compared with the other 3 groups. Knowledge of such characteristics for cervical MRSA infections in children can facilitate targeted clinical interventions to improve care of affected populations.