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Scand J Infect Dis. 2013 Mar;45(3):219-26. doi: 10.3109/00365548.2012.726737. Epub 2012 Oct 31.

Length of stay after reaching clinical stability drives hospital costs associated with adult community-acquired pneumonia.

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Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Care & Pharmaco-economics, University of Leuven, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.



Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) has a considerable clinical and economic impact. The aim of this study was to identify drivers of hospital costs associated with CAP in 2 Belgian hospitals. Specifically, the influence of patient characteristics, quality indicators, and other treatment aspects on hospital costs was explored.


The following were registered for patients admitted with a confirmed diagnosis of CAP in a large university hospital (Universitaire Ziekenhuizen Leuven, UZL) and a medium-sized secondary care hospital (Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, ZOL) in Belgium: the pneumonia severity index (PSI), time to clinical stability, length of stay, antibiotic therapy, outcomes, compliance with validated quality indicators, and the different costs (pharmacy, laboratory, and radiology, and total). Regression analysis was used to identify influential variables.


Between October 2007 and June 2010, 803 patients were included, with a median total cost of €4794.57. The length of stay after clinical stability and time to clinical stability had the highest influence on the total cost (+6.3% and +4.9% per additional day, respectively; p < 0.0001). Other important drivers of higher costs were total therapy duration, PSI score, age, and admission to intensive care. Patients treated with moxifloxacin had significantly, but limited, lower costs. Quality indicator compliance, including guideline-compliant antibiotic treatment and therapy streamlining, had little influence.


The most important driver of hospital costs associated with CAP was the time between clinical stability and actual hospital discharge. In order to substantially decrease the costs of CAP treatment, this period should be rigorously evaluated for possible intervention targets that would allow costs in CAP treatment to be decreased in a substantial manner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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