Hospital resources consumed for surgical morbidity: Effects of preoperative arginine and ω-3 fatty acid supplementation on costs

Marco Braga, Luca Gianotti, Andrea Vignali, Alexandra Schmid, Luca Nespoli, Valerio Di Carlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Costs related to postoperative complications continue to be a major burden on any health care system. The aim of the present study was to calculate hospital costs for postoperative complications and to evaluate whether preoperative supplementation with ω-3 fatty acids and arginine (specialized diet) might lead to cost savings in patient care. Methods: Blind analysis of costs performed on data gathered from a randomized clinical trial carried out on 305 patients with gastrointestinal cancer showed that an oral preoperative specialized diet decreased postoperative morbidity compared with conventional treatment (no supplementation). Estimates of complication costs were based on resources used for treatment and on additional length of hospital stay. Cost-comparison and cost-effectiveness analyses were then carried out. Results: The mean cost of postoperative complications was €4492. The greatest amount of resources was consumed by 19 anastomotic leaks (€159803), 18 abdominal abscesses (€112921), and 18 pancreatic fistulae (€106516). The mean costs per complication were €6178 in the conventional group and €4639 in the preoperative group (P = 0.05). The mean total costs of patients with complications were €10494 in the conventional group and €8793 in the preoperative group. The mean cost per randomized patient was €3122 in the conventional group versus €1872 in the preoperative group (P = 0.04). Effectiveness values were 50.0% in the conventional group and 62.8% in the preoperative group (P = 0.03). Total costs consumed 93% of the diagnosis-related group reimbursement rate in the conventional group and 78% in the preoperative group. Conclusions: The costs of postoperative morbidity consumed a large amount of the diagnosis-related group reimbursement rate. Preoperative supplementation with the specialized diet appears to be a cost-effective treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1078-1086
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition
Volume21
Issue number11-12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005

Keywords

  • Cost analysis
  • Effectiveness
  • Immunonutrition
  • Major surgery
  • Postoperative infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Surgery
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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