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Healthcare costs of Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile infections in Veterans: role of vitamin D deficiency

  • D. YOUSSEF (a1) (a2), B. BAILEY (a3), A. EL ABBASSI (a1) (a2), R. COPELAND (a2), L. ADEBONOJO (a4), T. MANNING (a1) and A. N. PEIRIS (a1) (a2)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268809991543
  • Published online: 08 January 2010
Abstract
SUMMARY

Clostridium difficile and staphylococcal infections are associated with increased morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs. Vitamin D deficiency may also contribute to increased healthcare costs. There is increasing evidence that vitamin D may have an antimicrobial role. We examined the relationship of serum 25(OH)D levels to staphylococcal and C. difficile infections to determine if vitamin D deficiency was associated with adverse outcomes. In the outpatient setting, vitamin D deficiency in patients with C. difficile and staphylococcal infections were associated with significantly increased total outpatients costs and fee-based consultation. Laboratory expenses had a trend towards higher costs in the vitamin D-deficient group but did not reach statistical significance. The differences were most clearly seen in the in-patient group with enhanced laboratory, pharmacy and radiology costs. These differences resulted in vitamin D-deficient patients with C. difficile or staphylococcal infections having costs more than five times higher than the non-deficient patients. The total length of hospital stay was four times greater in the vitamin D-deficient group. In addition, the total number of hospitalizations was also significantly greater in the vitamin D-deficient group. Surgery costs demonstrated a tendency to be higher in the vitamin D-deficient group but failed to reach statistical significance. Vitamin D deficiency is intimately linked to adverse health outcomes and costs in Veterans with staphylococcal and C. difficile infections in North East Tennessee. We recommend that vitamin D status be checked in patients with these infections and appropriate therapy be instituted to restore vitamin D level to normal in an expeditious manner.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr A. N. Peiris, Medicine Service, 111 Mountain Home, VAMC, Mountain Home, TN37684, USA. (Email: alan.peiris@va.gov)
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Epidemiology & Infection
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