Catheter-associated UTI cost estimate: $896 per case

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Total annual costs for major health care-associated infections (HAIs) were estimated at $9.8 billion in a recent study, with catheter-associated urinary tract infections representing

Total annual costs for major health care-associated infections (HAIs) were estimated at $9.8 billion in a recent study, with catheter-associated urinary tract infections representing <1% of that amount.

On a per-case basis, the cost of catheter-associated UTIs was estimated at $896.

Surgical site infections contributed the most to overall costs, according to the study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine (Sept. 2, 2013).

HAIs are associated with high costs, and better evaluation of the cost of these infections could help providers and payers justify investing in prevention, according to first author Eyal Zimlichman, MD, MSc, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues.

Researchers reviewed published medical literature for the years 1986 through April 2013. For HAI incidence estimates, researchers used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network.

“As one of the most common sources of preventable harm, health care-associated infections (HAIs) represent a major threat to patient safety,” the authors wrote. “The purpose of this study was to generate estimates of the costs associated with the most significant and targetable HAIs.”

On a per-case basis, central line-associated bloodstream infections were found to be the most costly HAIs at $45,814, followed by ventilator-associated pneumonia at $40,144, surgical site infections at $20,785, Clostridium difficile infection at $11,285, and catheter-associated UTIs at $896.

In terms of overall costs, surgical site infections contributed the most (33.7% of the total), followed by ventilator-associated pneumonia (31.6%), central line–associated bloodstream infections (18.9%), C. difficile infections (15.4%), and catheter-associated UTIs (<1%).

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