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A cost analysis of a broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy in the empirical treatment of health care-associated infections in cirrhotic patients

Authors Lucidi C, Di Gregorio V, Ceccarelli G, Venditti M, Riggio O, Merli M

Received 20 December 2016

Accepted for publication 28 February 2017

Published 29 June 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 385—390


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Giorgio Lorenzo Colombo

Cristina Lucidi,1 Vincenza Di Gregorio,1 Giancarlo Ceccarelli,2 Mario Venditti,2 Oliviero Riggio,1 Manuela Merli1

1Gastroenterology, Department of Clinical Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 2Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Background: Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of infections in cirrhosis are crucial. As new guidelines in this context, particularly for health care-associated (HCA) infections, would be needed, we performed a trial documenting whether an empirical broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy is more effective than the standard one for these infections. Because of the higher daily cost of broad-spectrum than standard antibiotics, we performed a cost analysis to compare: 1) total drug costs, 2) profitability of hospital admissions.
Methods: This retrospective observational analysis was performed on patients enrolled in the trial NCT01820026, in which consecutive cirrhotic patients with HCA infections were randomly assigned to a standard vs a broad-spectrum treatment. Antibiotic daily doses, days of treatment, length of hospital stay, and DRG (diagnosis-related group) were recorded from the clinical trial medical records. The profitability of hospitalizations was calculated considering DRG tariffs divided by length of hospital stay.
Results: We considered 84 patients (42 for each group). The standard therapy allowed to obtain a first-line treatment cost lower than in the broad-spectrum therapy. Anyway, the latter, being related to a lower failure rate (19% vs 57.1%), resulted in cost saving in terms of cumulative antibiotic costs (first- and second-line treatments). The mean cost saving per patient for the broad-spectrum arm was €44.18 (–37.6%), with a total cost saving of about €2,000. Compared to standard group, we observed a statistically significant reduction in hospital stay from 17.8 to 11.8 days (p<0.002) for patients treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics. The distribution of DRG tariffs was similar in the two groups. According to DRG, the shorter length of hospital stay of the broad-spectrum group involved a higher mean profitable daily cost than standard group (€345.61 vs €252.23; +37%).
Conclusion: Our study supports the idea that the use of a broad-spectrum empirical treatment for HCA infections in cirrhosis would be cost-saving and that hospitals need to be aware of the clinical and economic consequences of a wrong antibiotic treatment in this setting.

Keywords: profitability, diagnosis-related group, cost saving, antibiotic failure

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