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J Neurotrauma. 2017 Oct 15;34(20):2892-2900. doi: 10.1089/neu.2016.4934. Epub 2017 Sep 18.

The Economic Burden of Urinary Tract Infection and Pressure Ulceration in Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury Admissions: Evidence for Comparative Economics and Decision Analytics from a Matched Case-Control Study.

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1 Rick Hansen Institute , Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada .
2 Service de Neurochirurgie, Université de Sherbrooke , Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada .
3 Vancouver Spine Surgery Institute, Department of Orthopaedics, University of British Columbia , Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada .
4 Dalhousie University , Halifax, Nova Scotia; Horizon Health Network, Division of Neurosurgery, Saint John Regional Hospital, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada .


Secondary complications of spinal cord injury (SCI) are a burden to affected individuals and the rest of society. There is limited evidence of the economic burden or cost of complications in SCI populations in Canada, however, which is necessary for comparative economic analyses and decision analytic modeling of possible solutions to these common health problems. Comparative economic analyses can inform resource allocation decisions, but the outputs are only as good as the inputs. In this article, new evidence of the excess or incremental costs of urinary tract infection (UTI) and pressure ulceration (PU) in acute traumatic SCI from an exploratory case series analysis of admissions to a Level I specialized Canadian spine facility (2008-2013) is presented. Participants in a national SCI registry were case-control matched (1:1) on the predicted probability of experiencing UTI or PU during initial acute SCI admission. The excess costs of UTI and PU are estimated as the mean of the differences in total direct acute SCI admission costs (length of stay, accommodation, nursing, pharmacy) from the perspective of the admitting facility between participants matched or paired on demographic and SCI characteristics. Even relatively minor UTI and PU, respectively, added an average of $7,790 (standard deviation [SD] $6,267) and $18,758 (SD $27,574) to the direct cost of acute SCI admission in 2013 Canadian dollars (CAD). This case series analysis established evidence of the excess costs of UTI and PU in acute SCI admissions, which will support decision-informing analyses in SCI.


economic burden; pressure ulcers; secondary complications; spinal cord injury; urinary tract infections


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