Surgical site infections—economic consequences for the health care system

  • Karolin Graf
  • Ella Ott
  • Ralf-Peter Vonberg
  • Christian Kuehn
  • Tobias Schilling
  • Axel Haverich
  • Iris Freya Chaberny
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00423-011-0772-0

Cite this article as:
Graf, K., Ott, E., Vonberg, RP. et al. Langenbecks Arch Surg (2011) 396: 453. doi:10.1007/s00423-011-0772-0

Abstract

Purposes

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.

Keywords

Length of stayReimbursementCostsEconomic impact

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karolin Graf
    • 1
  • Ella Ott
    • 1
  • Ralf-Peter Vonberg
    • 1
  • Christian Kuehn
    • 2
  • Tobias Schilling
    • 2
  • Axel Haverich
    • 2
  • Iris Freya Chaberny
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital EpidemiologyHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Department for Cardiac, Thoracic, Transplant and Vascular SurgeryHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany