Background: The economic effect is a crucial aspect of every medical procedure. This article analyzes the economic implications of various methods in anesthesia based on three case vignettes.
Methods: The management of anesthesia of a forearm fracture with sufficient brachial plexus blockade, general anesthesia and insufficient brachial plexus blockade with subsequent general anesthesia was analyzed with respect to the relevant cost factors (personnel costs, durables, consumables, fixed assets costs, anesthesia-related overhead costs).
Results: Sufficient regional anesthesia was the least expensive method for a forearm fracture with 324.26 €, followed by general anesthesia with 399.18 € (+23% compared with regional anesthesia). Insufficient regional anesthesia was most the expensive method, which necessitated an additional general anesthesia (482.55 €, +49% compared with sufficient regional anesthesia).
Conclusion: Even considering that this cost analysis was calculated based on data from only one medical institution (General Hospital of Vienna, Medical University of Vienna), regional anesthesia appeared to be cost efficient compared with other anesthesia procedures. Main cost drivers in this example were personnel costs.
Keywords: Anesthesia, conduction; Anesthesia, general; Costs and costs analysis; Economics, medical; Health care economics and organizations.