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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Nov;31(11):3065-72. doi: 10.1007/s10096-012-1666-y. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Cost-analysis of PCR-guided pre-emptive antibiotic treatment of Staphylococcus aureus infections: an analytic decision model.

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  • 1Institute of Health Care Management, Department of Law and Economics, University of Greifswald, Friedrich-Loeffler-Str. 70, 17489, Greifswald, Germany.


The aim of this study is to examine whether rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based screening is a cost-efficient tool to optimize pre-emptive antibiotic therapy of methicillin-resistant and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA and MSSA, respectively) infections. A decision analytic cost model was developed, based on data from the peer-reviewed literature. Sensitivity analyses were undertaken to investigate the impact of variation in the MRSA rate, cost ratio of the cost of inappropriate antibiotic therapy to the cost of appropriate antibiotic therapy, PCR test cost, and total hospital costs per case. At a current MRSA rate of 24.5 % in Germany, PCR-guided treatment regimens are cost-efficient compared to empirical strategies. The costs of alternative treatment strategies differ, on average, up to 1,780 <euro> per case. An empirical MRSA treatment strategy is least costly when the cost ratio is less than 1.06. When the total hospital cost per MRSA case is increased, pre-emptive MSSA treatment with PCR tests achieves the lowest average cost. Early verification and adaptation of an initial pre-emptive antibiotic treatment of S. aureus infections using PCR-based tests are advantageous in Germany and other European countries. PCR tests, accordingly, should be considered as elements in antimicrobial stewardship programs.

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