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Int J Surg. 2013;11(7):524-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2013.05.001. Epub 2013 May 13.

A descriptive cost analysis study of cases of right iliac fossa pain.

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Department of Surgery, University Hospital Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.


Patients with suspected appendicitis comprise a large proportion of general surgical workload. The resulting healthcare burden is significant when one considers that investigations, observation and surgical procedures are often needed. As no previous study has examined the cost of managing patients with suspected appendicitis, we performed a cost analysis study of management of cases of right iliac fossa (RIF) pain in University Hospital Limerick. Patients who were admitted with right iliac fossa pain from 1st April 2011 to 4th May 2011 were identified prospectively. After discharge, patients' medical records were reviewed. Costing data collected comprised details on length of stay, number and type of radiological investigations, number and type of blood investigations, medications administered and operations performed. Costs for radiological investigations were obtained from casemix data. Blood investigation costs were obtained from relevant laboratories. Medication costs were obtained from the pharmacy department. Operation costs were based on the cost of equipment combined with cost relating to operating theatre time and recovery unit time. Due to unavailability of data on Irish public hospital bed-day cost, a private hospital provided cost details on this aspect. 94 patients (M = 33, F = 61) were admitted with RIF pain during this time period. 62 underwent surgery. There were 53 appendicectomies performed with 42 (79%) positive for appendicitis on histological analysis. Blood test, radiology, pharmacy, operative and bed-day costs were €1857, €6252, €3517, €184,191 and €152,706 respectively. The total estimated cost was €348,525 (€3708 average per patient). There is a high cost associated with managing suspected appendicitis in Ireland. Strategies to reduce cost include reducing unnecessary admissions and unnecessary operations. Reducing LOS may be another potentially valuable cost saving method. It is imperative that resources are channelled into the provision of accurate costing structures.


Appendectomy; Appendicitis; Cost analysis; Laparoscopic appendicectomy; Non-specific abdominal pain; Open appendicectomy

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