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Open Access Research article

Surgical treatment approaches and reimbursement costs of surgical site infections post hip arthroplasty in Australia: a retrospective analysis

Katharina MD Merollini1*, Ross W Crawford12 and Nicholas Graves13

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, 60 Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia

2 Orthopedic Research Unit, Clinical Science Building, Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

3 The Centre for Healthcare Related Infection Surveillance & Prevention, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Australia

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:91  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-91

Published: 11 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The treatment for deep surgical site infection (SSI) following primary total hip arthroplasty (THA) varies internationally and it is at present unclear which treatment approaches are used in Australia. The aim of this study is to identify current treatment approaches in Queensland, Australia, show success rates and quantify the costs of different treatments.

Methods

Data for patients undergoing primary THA and treatment for infection between January 2006 and December 2009 in Queensland hospitals were extracted from routinely used hospital databases. Records were linked with pathology information to confirm positive organisms. Diagnosis and treatment of infection was determined using ICD-10-AM and ACHI codes, respectively. Treatment costs were estimated based on AR-DRG cost accounting codes assigned to each patient hospital episode.

Results

A total of n=114 patients with deep surgical site infection were identified. The majority of patients (74%) were first treated with debridement, antibiotics and implant retention (DAIR), which was successful in eradicating the infection in 60.3% of patients with an average cost of $13,187. The remaining first treatments were 1-stage revision, successful in 89.7% with average costs of $27,006, and 2-stage revisions, successful in 92.9% of cases with average costs of $42,772. Multiple treatments following ‘failed DAIR’ cost on average $29,560, for failed 1-stage revision were $24,357, for failed 2-stage revision were $70,381 and were $23,805 for excision arthroplasty.

Conclusions

As treatment costs in Australia are high primary prevention is important and the economics of competing treatment choices should be carefully considered. These currently vary greatly across international settings.

Keywords:
Hip replacement arthroplasty; Surgical wound infection; Cost analysis; Outcome assessment; Surgical revision