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Intern Med J. 2011 Jan;41(1b):121-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2010.02343.x.

The disease and economic burden of neutropenic fever in adult patients in Australian cancer treatment centres 2008: analysis of the Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset.

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Pharmacy Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



Although the incidence of neutropenic fever (FN) is estimated to be up to 80% for some malignancies, the epidemiological characteristics and economic burden are not well understood for Australian patients.


To describe underlying malignant conditions, potential aetiologies, clinical outcomes and healthcare utilization for an Australian population with FN, and to estimate the economic burden of this condition within the Australian healthcare sector.


Epidemiological features of FN were extracted from a population-based hospital morbidity dataset, the Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset (VAED), for a 12-month period (2008). These were analysed according for a range of malignancy categories. Economic burden of hospitalizations was estimated according to data presented in the Round 12 National Hospital Cost Data Collection Report.


A total of 2599 admitted episodes across 92 Victorian hospitals fulfilled inclusion criteria for FN. Metropolitan hospitalizations accounted for 79% episodes. FN illness comprised underlying solid tumours diagnoses (40%), followed by leukaemia (29.3%), lymphoma (22%) and myeloma (8.5%). Length of hospital stay was >15 days for approximately one-third of hospitalizations. intensive care unit admission rates were 5.9-11.7%. Weighted average costs of hospitalization (AUD) for solid tumours, lymphoma, myeloma and leukaemia were $8309 ± $391, 18,145 ± $1602, $21,764 ± $1289 and $22,596 ± $2618 respectively.


Using VAED indices, epidemiological features of Australian patients with FN appear comparable with international reports. In contrast to US data, estimated healthcare costs are up to 50% lower in the Australian healthcare sector. These data offer important insights for prioritizing of research agendas and resource allocation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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