To examine the association between systemic corticosteroid use and outcomes for children hospitalized with orbital cellulitis at US children’s hospitals.
We conducted a multicenter observational study using administrative data from the Pediatric Health Information System database from 2007 to 2019. Children between the ages of 2 months and 18 years with International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification or 10th Revision, Clinical Modification discharge diagnostic codes of orbital cellulitis were included. The primary exposure was receipt of systemic corticosteroids on the day of hospital admission. The primary outcome was hospital length of stay, and secondary outcomes included surgical intervention, ICU admissions, revisits, and health care costs. We used generalized logit model with inverse probability weighting logistic regression to adjust for demographic factors and assess for differences in clinical outcomes reported.
Of the 5832 patients hospitalized with orbital cellulitis, 330 (5.7%) were in the corticosteroid group and 5502 (94.3%) were in the noncorticosteroid group. Patients in the corticosteroid group were older, had more severe illness, and received broad spectrum antibiotics. In adjusted analyses, corticosteroid exposure was not associated with differences in length of hospital stay, need for surgical intervention, ICU admissions, emergency department revisits, 30-day hospital readmissions, or hospital costs. Restricting the analysis to only those patients who received broad spectrum antibiotics did not change the findings.
Early use of systemic corticosteroids in hospitalized children with orbital cellulitis is not associated with improved clinical outcomes. Use of corticosteroids in hospitalized children with orbital cellulitis should be discouraged outside of clinical trials.