Objective: To determine if penicillin-nonsusceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae, among other variables, was significantly associated with greater hospital costs among patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).
Design: Retrospective, cohort study.
Setting: Eight hundred ten-bed, urban, private, teaching hospital.
Patients: Adult patients admitted between 1999 and 2003 with CAP caused by S pneumoniae.
Intervention: Clinical criteria and costs (inflated to 2004 dollars) were collected from the medical charts and detailed hospital bills for each individual patient. Costs were compared according to classification by penicillin susceptibility. Multivariate linear regression was utilized to determine variables independently associated with increased hospital costs and length of stay.
Results: Of 168 patients included, 44 patients (26%) had CAP caused by penicillin-nonsusceptible S pneumoniae. Median total hospital costs were 8,654 dollars (25th to 75th percentile, 5,457 dollars to 16,027 dollars), with no difference between susceptible and nonsusceptible groups. Bed costs accounted for 55.6% of total costs, followed by laboratory (9.9%) and pharmacy (9.8%) costs. Regression analyses determined that ICU admission (p < 0.001), unexplained delays in discharge (p = 0.001), and neoplasm (p < 0.04) were independently predictive of both total hospital costs (adjusted r2 = 0.46) and increasing length of stay (adjusted r2 = 0.30). Hospital mortality, bacteremia, and congestive heart failure were also associated with at least one of the dependent variables.
Conclusion: In the current era in which more potent antibiotics are empirically utilized to treat CAP, it does not appear that a simple classification of penicillin nonsusceptibility complicates the economic impact of S pneumoniae infection. Focused efforts to reduce length of stay, including minimizing prolonged and unnecessary observation of patients, should have the most profound effect on reducing total costs.