Evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of strategies claiming to reduce the risk of surgical site infections following primary total hip arthroplasty

Merollini, Katharina M.D. (2012) Evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of strategies claiming to reduce the risk of surgical site infections following primary total hip arthroplasty. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Background Total hip arthroplasty (THA) is a commonly performed procedure and numbers are increasing with ageing populations. One of the most serious complications in THA are surgical site infections (SSIs), caused by pathogens entering the wound during the procedure. SSIs are associated with a substantial burden for health services, increased mortality and reduced functional outcomes in patients. Numerous approaches to preventing these infections exist but there is no gold standard in practice and the cost-effectiveness of alternate strategies is largely unknown.

Objectives The aim of this project was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of strategies claiming to reduce deep surgical site infections following total hip arthroplasty in Australia. The objectives were:

  1. Identification of competing strategies or combinations of strategies that are clinically relevant to the control of SSI related to hip arthroplasty

  2. Evidence synthesis and pooling of results to assess the volume and quality of evidence claiming to reduce the risk of SSI following total hip arthroplasty

  3. Construction of an economic decision model incorporating cost and health outcomes for each of the identified strategies

  4. Quantification of the effect of uncertainty in the model

  5. Assessment of the value of perfect information among model parameters to inform future data collection

Methods The literature relating to SSI in THA was reviewed, in particular to establish definitions of these concepts, understand mechanisms of aetiology and microbiology, risk factors, diagnosis and consequences as well as to give an overview of existing infection prevention measures. Published economic evaluations on this topic were also reviewed and limitations for Australian decision-makers identified.

A Markov state-transition model was developed for the Australian context and subsequently validated by clinicians. The model was designed to capture key events related to deep SSI occurring within the first 12 months following primary THA. Relevant infection prevention measures were selected by reviewing clinical guideline recommendations combined with expert elicitation. Strategies selected for evaluation were the routine use of pre-operative antibiotic prophylaxis (AP) versus no use of antibiotic prophylaxis (No AP) or in combination with antibiotic-impregnated cement (AP & ABC) or laminar air operating rooms (AP & LOR).

The best available evidence for clinical effect size and utility parameters was harvested from the medical literature using reproducible methods. Queensland hospital data were extracted to inform patients’ transitions between model health states and related costs captured in assigned treatment codes. Costs related to infection prevention were derived from reliable hospital records and expert opinion.

Uncertainty of model input parameters was explored in probabilistic sensitivity analyses and scenario analyses and the value of perfect information was estimated.

Results The cost-effectiveness analysis was performed from a health services perspective using a hypothetical cohort of 30,000 THA patients aged 65 years. The baseline rate of deep SSI was 0.96% within one year of a primary THA. The routine use of antibiotic prophylaxis (AP) was highly cost-effective and resulted in cost savings of over $1.6m whilst generating an extra 163 QALYs (without consideration of uncertainty). Deterministic and probabilistic analysis (considering uncertainty) identified antibiotic prophylaxis combined with antibiotic-impregnated cement (AP & ABC) to be the most cost-effective strategy. Using AP & ABC generated the highest net monetary benefit (NMB) and an incremental $3.1m NMB compared to only using antibiotic prophylaxis. There was a very low error probability that this strategy might not have the largest NMB (<5%). Not using antibiotic prophylaxis (No AP) or using both antibiotic prophylaxis combined with laminar air operating rooms (AP & LOR) resulted in worse health outcomes and higher costs.

Sensitivity analyses showed that the model was sensitive to the initial cohort starting age and the additional costs of ABC but the best strategy did not change, even for extreme values. The cost-effectiveness improved for a higher proportion of cemented primary THAs and higher baseline rates of deep SSI. The value of perfect information indicated that no additional research is required to support the model conclusions.

Conclusions Preventing deep SSI with antibiotic prophylaxis and antibiotic-impregnated cement has shown to improve health outcomes among hospitalised patients, save lives and enhance resource allocation. By implementing a more beneficial infection control strategy, scarce health care resources can be used more efficiently to the benefit of all members of society.

The results of this project provide Australian policy makers with key information about how to efficiently manage risks of infection in THA.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 54667
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Graves, Nicholas
Keywords: health economics, economic evaluation, cost-effectiveness, cost-utility analysis, markov model, decision-making, surgical site infection, infection control, orthopaedics, hip arthroplasty, revision, Australia
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 07 Nov 2012 04:46
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015 11:29

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