Economic healthcare costs of Clostridium difficile infection: a systematic review

J Hosp Infect. 2010 Apr;74(4):309-18. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2009.10.016. Epub 2010 Feb 12.


Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the leading cause of infectious diarrhoea in hospitalised patients. CDI increases patient healthcare costs due to extended hospitalisation, re-hospitalisation, laboratory tests and medications. However, the economic costs of CDI on healthcare systems remain uncertain. The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic review to summarise available studies aimed at defining the economic healthcare costs of CDI. We conducted a literature search for peer-reviewed studies that investigated costs associated with CDI (1980 to present). Thirteen studies met inclusion and exclusion criteria. CDI costs in 2008 US dollars were calculated using the consumer price index. The total and incremental costs for primary and recurrent CDI were estimated. Of the 13, 10 were from the USA and one each from Canada, UK, and Ireland. In US-based studies incremental cost estimates ranged from $2,871 to $4,846 per case for primary CDI and from $13,655 to $18,067 per case for recurrent CDI. US-based studies in special populations (subjects with irritable bowel disease, surgical inpatients, and patients treated in the intensive care unit) showed an incremental cost range from $6,242 to $90,664. Non-US-based studies showed an estimated incremental cost of $5,243 to $8,570 per case for primary CDI and $13,655 per case for recurrent CDI. Economic healthcare costs of CDI were high for primary and recurrent cases. The high cost associated with CDI justifies the use of additional resources for CDI prevention and control.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Clostridium Infections / economics*
  • Clostridium Infections / microbiology
  • Clostridium difficile / isolation & purification*
  • Cross Infection / economics*
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Diarrhea / economics
  • Diarrhea / microbiology
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / economics*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / microbiology
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States