Background: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the leading cause of infectious nosocomial diarrhoea but the economic costs of CDI on healthcare systems in the US remain uncertain.
Methods: We conducted a systematic search for published studies investigating the direct medical cost associated with CDI hospital management in the past 10 years (2005-2015) and included 42 studies to the final data analysis to estimate the financial impact of CDI in the US. We also conducted a meta-analysis of all costs using Monte Carlo simulation.
Results: The average cost for CDI case management and average CDI-attributable costs per case were $42,316 (90 % CI: $39,886, $44,765) and $21,448 (90 % CI: $21,152, $21,744) in 2015 US dollars. Hospital-onset CDI-attributable cost per case was $34,157 (90 % CI: $33,134, $35,180), which was 1.5 times the cost of community-onset CDI ($20,095 [90 % CI: $4991, $35,204]). The average and incremental length of stay (LOS) for CDI inpatient treatment were 11.1 (90 % CI: 8.7-13.6) and 9.7 (90 % CI: 9.6-9.8) days respectively. Total annual CDI-attributable cost in the US is estimated US$6.3 (Range: $1.9-$7.0) billion. Total annual CDI hospital management required nearly 2.4 million days of inpatient stay.
Conclusions: This review indicates that CDI places a significant financial burden on the US healthcare system. This review adds strong evidence to aid policy-making on adequate resource allocation to CDI prevention and treatment in the US. Future studies should focus on recurrent CDI, CDI in long-term care facilities and persons with comorbidities and indirect cost from a societal perspective. Health-economic studies for CDI preventive intervention are needed.
Keywords: Clostridium Difficile; Economic analysis; Meta-analysis; Systematic review.