Differences between Children and Adults with Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Katherine K. Hallock, Marylena R. Mizerak, Alison Dempsey, Steven MacZuga, Joslyn S. Kirby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Importance: Up to 50% of patients may have hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) onset between age 10 and 21 years. To our knowledge, little is known about how adolescents with HS utilize health care during their journey to receiving a diagnosis. Objective: To assess the clinical characteristics and health care utilization patterns of pediatric vs adult patients with HS. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study included adult and pediatric patients with HS claims from the MarketScan medical claims database during the study period, January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2016. The data were analyzed between March 1 and March 31, 2021. Exposures: Clinical characteristics and health care utilization patterns of pediatric vs adult patients with HS. Main Outcomes and Measures: Health care utilization patterns were examined and included concurrent diagnoses, outpatient care by discipline, and emergency/urgent care and inpatient claims. Results: This study included 8727 members, comprising 1094 pediatric (155 male [14.2%] and 939 female patients [85.8%]; mean [SD] age, 14.3 [2.47] years) and 7633 adult patients (1748 men [22.9%] and 5885 women [77.1%]; mean [SD] age, 37.2 [12.99] years). Pediatric patients were likely to see pediatricians, dermatologists, emergency department (ED) staff, and family physicians before diagnosis and commonly received diagnoses of folliculitis and comedones. Pediatric patients with HS had high rates of comorbid skin and general medical conditions, including acne vulgaris (558 [51.0%]), acne conglobata (503 [45.9%]), obesity (369 [33.7%]), and anxiety disorders (367 [33.6%]). A higher percentage of pediatric than adult patients had HS-specific claims for services rendered by emergency and urgent care physicians (35.6% vs 28.2%; P <.001; and 18.1% vs 13.4%; P <.001; respectively). However, adult patients were more likely to have inpatient stays (2.38% vs 4.22%; P =.002). Pediatric patients had 2.24 ED claims per person, while adults had 3.5 claims per person. The mean cost per ED claim was similar between groups ($413.27 vs $682.54; P =.18). The largest component of the total 5-year disease-specific cost was the cost of inpatient visits for pediatric and adult patients with HS. Conclusions and Relevance: This cohort study suggests that pediatric patients utilize high-cost ED care when HS can often be treated as an outpatient. These data suggest that there are opportunities to improve recognition of HS in pediatric patients by nondermatologists and dermatologists..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1095-1101
Number of pages7
JournalJAMA Dermatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology


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