Do Patients with Cellulitis Need to be Hospitalized? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Mortality Rates of Inpatients with Cellulitis
Cellulitis is a common cause of hospitalization. In the USA, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code “other cellulitis and abscess” accounts for 1.4% of all admissions and $5.5 billion in annual costs. The Infectious Disease Society of America recommends hospitalization for patients with cellulitis under certain circumstances but there is little actual clinical evidence to guide the decision to admit. The purpose of this study is to determine the mortality rate of patients hospitalized with cellulitis and to ascertain if the rate is comparable to the rate for low risk patients with community acquired pneumonia that are currently recommended for outpatient management.
A systematic literature search was conducted for studies of consecutive patients hospitalized with cellulitis or erysipelas that reported inpatient mortality. Study quality was assessed using a modified Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale. The mortality rates from the included studies were pooled using a random effects model. Heterogeneity was estimated using the I2 statistic.
Eighteen studies met inclusion criteria. The overall worldwide mortality rate was 1.1% (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.7–1.8). For studies from the USA, the rate was 0.5% (95% CI 0.3–0.9). The actual cause of death was generally poorly described, and only one third of deaths appeared to be due to infection.
The estimated mortality rate for patients currently being hospitalized for cellulitis is comparable to the mortality rate of patients with community-acquired pneumonia that are recommended for outpatient management by the Pneumonia Severity Index and CURB65 prediction models and strongly endorsed by major infectious disease societies. Outpatient management of these patients could result in large cost savings and may be much preferred by patients.
KEY WORDSCellulitis Mortality Epidemiology Hospitalization
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors have no conflicts to disclose.
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