The economic impact of hospitalization for diabetic foot infections in a Caribbean nation

Type Journal Article - Permanent Journal
Title The economic impact of hospitalization for diabetic foot infections in a Caribbean nation
Volume 18
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers e101-104
Context: Foot infection is the most common complication of diabetes mellitus in
the Caribbean. Diabetic foot infections place a heavy burden on health care resources
in the Caribbean.
Objective: To evaluate the treatment-related costs for diabetic foot infections in a
Caribbean nation.
Methods: We identified all patients with diabetic foot infections in a 730-bed hospital
serving a catchment population of approximately 400,000 persons from June 1, 2011
through July 31, 2012. The following data were collected: details of infection, antibiotic
usage, investigations performed, number of physician consultations, details of operative
treatment, and duration of hospitalization. Total charges were tallied to determine the
final cost for inhospital treatment of diabetic foot infections.
Results: There were 446 patients hospitalized with diabetic foot infections, yielding approximately
0.75% annual risk for patients with diabetes to develop foot infections. The mean
duration of hospitalization was 22.5 days. Sixteen patients (3.6%) were treated conservatively
without an operative procedure and 430 (96.4%) required some form of operative intervention.
There were 885 debridements, 193 minor amputations and 60 major amputations, 7102
wound dressings, 2763 wound cultures, and 27,015 glucometer measurements. When the
hospital charges were tallied, a total of US $13,922,178 (mean, US $31,216) were spent to
treat diabetic foot infections in these 446 patients during 1 year at this hospital.
Conclusions: Each year, the government of Trinidad and Tobago spends US $85
million, or 0.4% of their gross domestic product, solely to treat patients hospitalized
for diabetic foot infections. With this level of national expenditure and the anticipated
increase in the prevalence of diabetes, it is necessary to revive the call for investment
in preventive public health strategies.

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