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Health Care-Linked Infections Up Costs in Cardiac Surgery

Incremental cost of nearly $38,00 for cardiac surgery patients with health care-associated infection

MONDAY, Jan. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are strongly linked to hospital costs, length of stay, and readmission, according to research published in the Jan. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Giampaolo Greco, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues examined the costs associated with major types of HAIs in the two months following cardiac surgery. Data were collected prospectively from a multicenter, observational study in which patients were monitored for infections for 65 days after cardiac surgery. The authors estimated incremental length of stay and costs associated with HAIs among 4,320 cardiac surgery patients (mean age, 64 ± 13 years).

The researchers found that 2.8 percent of the patients experienced a major HAI during the index hospitalization. The most common HAIs were pneumonia, sepsis, and Clostridium difficile colitis (48, 20, and 18 percent, respectively). The incremental cost associated with a major HAI was estimated at nearly $38,000, with almost half (47 percent) related to intensive care unit services. The incremental length of stay was found to be 14 days. There were 849 readmissions, of which 8.7 percent were due to major HAIs. Compared with readmissions unrelated to HAIs, the costs were increased nearly three-fold for readmissions associated with major HAIs.

"These associations suggest the potential for large reductions in costs if HAIs following cardiac surgery can be reduced," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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