A PCT algorithm for discontinuation of antibiotic therapy is a cost-effective way to reduce antibiotic exposure in adult intensive care patients with sepsis

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Abstract

Objective: Procalcitonin (PCT) is a specific marker for differentiating bacterial from non-infective causes of inflammation. It can be used to guide initiation and duration of antibiotic therapy in intensive care unit (ICU) patients with suspected sepsis, and might reduce the duration of hospital stay. Limiting antibiotic treatment duration is highly important because antibiotic over-use may cause patient harm, prolonged hospital stay, and resistance development. Several systematic reviews show that a PCT algorithm for antibiotic discontinuation is safe, but upfront investment required for PCT remains an important barrier against implementation. The current study investigates to what extent this PCT algorithm is a cost-effective use of scarce healthcare resources in ICU patients with sepsis compared to current practice.

Methods: A decision tree was developed to estimate the health economic consequences of the PCT algorithm for antibiotic discontinuation from a Dutch hospital perspective. Input data were obtained from a systematic literature review. When necessary, additional information was gathered from open interviews with clinical chemists and intensivists. The primary effectiveness measure is defined as the number of antibiotic days, and cost-effectiveness is expressed as incremental costs per antibiotic day avoided.

Results: The PCT algorithm for antibiotic discontinuation is expected to reduce hospital spending by circa €3503 per patient, indicating savings of 9.2%. Savings are mainly due to reductions in length of hospital stay, number of blood cultures performed, and, importantly, days on antibiotic therapy. Probabilistic and one-way sensitivity analyses showed the model outcome to be robust against changes in model inputs.

Conclusion: Proven safe, a PCT algorithm for antibiotic discontinuation is a cost-effective means of reducing antibiotic exposure in adult ICU patients with sepsis, compared to current practice. Additional resources required for PCT are more than offset by downstream cost savings. This finding is highly important given the aim of preventing widespread antibiotic resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-953
JournalJournal of medical economics
Volume18
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2015

Keywords

  • METIS-310989
  • IR-96524
  • Sepsis
  • Procalcitonin
  • Intensive care
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Antibiotics

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