Clostridioides difficile Infection Prolongs Hospital Stays, Increases Costs, Says New Study

Clostridioides difficile, a bacteria that creates inflammation of the colon and causes symptoms like infectious diarrhea, is of particular risk among hospitalized patients.

Findings of a new Polish study reveal that Clostridioides difficile prolongs the length of hospital stays in patients without infection, thus having an impact on costs.

C difficile, a bacteria that creates inflammation of the colon and causes symptoms like infectious diarrhea, is of particular risk among patients who are hospitalized. Findings from several previous studies indicate that the prevalence of C difficile–related complications have increased in recent years. For example, a United States–based study indicates that there has been a 3-fold increase in diseases related to C difficile over a 9-year period. As a result, the bacteria have come under scrutiny from health care stakeholders.

“The issue of hospital infections is a subject in which specialists from various academic fields (including clinicians, epidemiologists or microbiologists) have exhibited a keen interest,” the authors wrote. “Due to the cost associated with infection, [C difficile infections (CDI)] are drawing the attention of hospital directors and financiers. This is particularly if the infection causes a series of long-lasting, expensive, and difficult-to-treat consequences and complications.”

The findings from their investigation were recently published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Throughout the analysis period of January-August 2018, there were 53 hospitalizations complicated by CDI, accounting for nearly 12% of analyzed cases. CDI also was associated with an extended hospitalization, prolonging hospital stays by approximately 12 days.

These prolonged hospital stays also translated into increased costs, found the researchers. The group found that the average cost associated with CDI was PLN 7148, equivalent to approximately $1800, which resulted in a collective cost of PLN 378,860, equivalent to approximately $98,000.

The hospital wards with the largest prevalence of CDI were hematology wards with chemotherapy wards, accounting for more than 1 in 3 infections (36.6%), followed by neurosurgery and nervous system tumor wards (12.2%), cardiology wards (12.2%), anesthesia and intensive care wards (7.3%), and vascular, general, and oncological surgery wards (7.3%).

“The problem of hospital infections, including C difficile, is a subject that impacts not only the fields of procedures, standards, and quality of provided services. This is a field in which an increasing frequency is associated not only with patient safety, but also with issues with an enormous impact on the area of the finances of health care entities,” the researchers concluded. “Extended hospitalizations, additional costs through providing nonstandard, unanticipated treatment (including medication and diagnostic testing), and the risk of claims by the patients are the reasons for which hospitals more thoroughly and frequently look at losses caused by the treatment of infections.”

Reference

Sierocka A, Kiersnowska Z, Lemiech-Mirowska E, Marczak M. Cost associated with the treatment of Clostridioides difficile infections. Int J Environ Res Public Health. Published online July 19, 2021. doi:10.3390/ijerph18147647