Cost Effectiveness of Selective Decontamination of the Digestive Tract in Liver Transplant Patients
Petra J. van Enckevort
Jan H. Zwaveling
Jan T. Bottema
John K. Maring
Ids J. Klompmaker
Maarten J.H. Slooff
Elisabeth M. Ten Vergert
Objective: To assess the cost effectiveness of selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) in liver transplant patients. Design: Randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial with an integrated economic evaluation. Setting: Two university hospitals in The Netherlands. Cost effectiveness was assessed from a societal perspective. Patients and participants: 58 patients who underwent liver transplantation and received SDD (n = 29) or placebo (n = 29) pre- and postoperatively. Interventions: SDD medication and placebo. Main outcome measures: Infection episodes, days of infection, costs of SDD and routine cultures, mean other direct medical costs per patient and additional costs of severe infection. Results: Costs of SDD medicine and routine cultures were on average 3100 US dollars ($US; 1997 values) per patient who underwent SDD. Both preoperatively and postoperatively, costs other than SDD and cultures did not significantly differ between the SDD and the placebo groups (preoperative, $US2370 vs $US2590; postoperative, $US25 455 vs $US24 915). Additional postoperative costs of severe infections were $US250 per day per patient. There were no significant differences in the mean number of infection episodes between groups. Conclusions: SDD leads to the additional costs of SDD medication and routine cultures, whereas no savings in other costs and no improvement in infection episodes are realised. Consequently, SDD may be considered as a nonefficient approach in patients undergoing liver transplantation. The additional costs of severe infection are considerable.
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