Surgical site infections—economic consequences for the health care system
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- Graf, K., Ott, E., Vonberg, RP. et al. Langenbecks Arch Surg (2011) 396: 453. doi:10.1007/s00423-011-0772-0
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Unfortunately, surgical site infections (SSIs) are a quite common complication and represent one of the major causes of postoperative morbidity and mortality, and may furthermore lead to enormous additional costs for hospitals and health care systems.
In order to determine the estimated costs due to SSIs, a MEDLINE search was performed to identify articles that provide data on economic aspects of SSIs and compared to findings from a matched case-control study on costs of SSIs after coronary bypass grafting (CABG) in a German tertiary care university hospital.
A total of 14 studies on costs were found. The additional costs of SSI vary between $3,859 (mean) and $40,559 (median). Median costs of a single CABG case in the recently published study were $49,449 (€36,261) vs. $18,218 (€13,356) in controls lacking infection (p < 0.0001). The median reimbursement from health care insurance companies was $36,962 (€27,107) leading to a financial loss of $12,482 (€9,154) each.
Costs of SSIs may almost triple the individual overall health care costs and those additional charges may not be sufficiently covered. Appropriate measures to reduce SSI rates must be taken to improve the patient’s safety. This should also diminish costs for health care systems which benefits the entire community.