Orbital and periorbital infections: A national perspective

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery








Objectives: To describe the epidemiologic features of pediatric orbital and periorbital infections from a national perspective and to identify predictors of surgery. Design: Analysis of the Kids' Inpatient Database. Setting: Administrative data set. Patients: Pediatric inpatient admissions with an International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification diagnosis of orbital cellulitis. Main Outcome Measures: Hospital admission, socioeconomic, and clinical variables were examined and predictors of surgical intervention were evaluated using logistic regression. Results: A total 5440 hospital admissions was noted for pediatric orbital cellulitis; of these, 672 patients (12.4%) underwent surgical intervention. Mean length of stay for all patients was 3.8 days; 90.4% were routinely discharged. Patients who had surgery were older, with a mean (SE) age of 10.1 (0.29) years compared with 6.1 (0.10) years for nonsurgical patients (P < .001). Surgical patients had a significantly longer mean hospital stay (7.1 vs 3.4 days, P < .001) and a higher mean cost of care ($41 009 vs $13 008, P < .001) compared with nonsurgical patients. Demographic predictors of surgical intervention included male sex, admitting characteristics, and hospital location. Except for sex, these variables remained significant in a multivariate model. Clinically, diplopia is a predictor of surgical intervention (odds ratio, 6.3; 95% confidence interval, 3.4-11.7). Conclusions: This study describes the medical and surgical management of pediatric orbital and periorbital infections from a national perspective. Predictors of surgical intervention include older age, presentation with diplopia, and hospital admission via the emergency department. Knowledge of these variables facilitates analysis of resource utilization for pediatric orbital cellulitis and can be used to optimally triage patients, ultimately reducing costs and lengths of stay while preserving quality of care. ©2011 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.

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