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Am J Infect Control. 2019 Aug;47(8):963-967. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2018.12.020. Epub 2019 Feb 20.

Economic health care costs of blood culture contamination: A systematic review.

Author information

1
University of Houston College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Translational Research, Houston, TX.
2
University of Houston College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Translational Research, Houston, TX; Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, Departments of Pharmacy and Microbiology, Houston, TX.
3
Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, Departments of Pharmacy and Microbiology, Houston, TX; Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Pathology & Immunology and Internal Medicine, Houston, TX; University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Microbiology, Houston, TX.
4
University of Houston College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Translational Research, Houston, TX; Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, Departments of Pharmacy and Microbiology, Houston, TX. Electronic address: kgarey@uh.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Blood culture contamination with gram-positive organisms is a common occurrence in patients suspected of bloodstream infections, especially in emergency departments. Although numerous research studies have investigated the cost implications of blood culture contamination, a contemporary systematic review of the literature has not been performed. The aim of this project was to perform a systematic review of the published literature on the economic costs of blood culture contamination.

METHODS:

PubMed was searched (January 1, 1978, to July 15, 2018) using the search terms "blood culture contamination" or "false-positive blood cultures." Articles were title searched and abstracts were reviewed for eligible articles that reported immediate or downstream economic costs of blood culture contamination.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:

The PubMed search identified 151 relevant articles by title search, with 49 articles included after abstract review. From the studies included, overall blood culture contamination rates ranged from 0.9%-41%. Up to 59% of patients received unnecessary treatment with parenteral vancomycin as a result of blood culture contamination, resulting in increased pharmacy charges between $210 and $12,611 per patient. Increases in total laboratory charges between $2,397 and $11,152 per patient were reported. Attributable hospital length of stay increases due to blood culture contamination ranged from 1-22 days.

CONCLUSIONS:

This systematic review of the literature identified several areas of health care expenditure associated with blood culture contamination. Interventions to reduce the risk of blood culture contamination would avoid downstream economic costs.

KEYWORDS:

Antimicrobial stewardship; False-positive blood cultures; Infection control; Microbiology; Staphylococcus; Vancomycin

PMID:
30795840
DOI:
10.1016/j.ajic.2018.12.020

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