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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2012 Mar;18(3):282-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2011.03571.x. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

The economic burden of Clostridium difficile.

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Public Health Computational and Operations Research (PHICOR), School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Although Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is the leading cause of infectious diarrhoea in hospitalized patients, the economic burden of this major nosocomial pathogen for hospitals, third-party payers and society remains unclear. We developed an economic computer simulation model to determine the costs attributable to healthcare-acquired C. difficile infection (CDI) from the hospital, third-party payer and societal perspectives. Sensitivity analyses explored the effects of varying the cost of hospitalization, C. difficile-attributable length of stay, and the probability of initial and secondary recurrences. The median cost of a case ranged from $9179 to $11 456 from the hospital perspective, $8932 to $11 679 from the third-party payor perspective, and $13 310 to $16 464 from the societal perspective. Most of the costs incurred were accrued during a patient's primary CDI episode. Hospitals with an incidence of 4.1 CDI cases per 100 000 discharges would incur costs ≥$3.2 million (hospital perspective); an incidence of 10.5 would lead to costs ≥$30.6 million. Our model suggests that the annual US economic burden of CDI would be ≥$496 million (hospital perspective), ≥$547 million (third-party payer perspective) and ≥$796 million (societal perspective). Our results show that C. difficile infection is indeed costly, not only to third-party payers and the hospital, but to society as well. These results are consistent with current literature citing C. difficile as a costly disease.

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