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March 11, 1983

Benefit-Cost Analysis of Antimicrobial Prophylaxis in Abdominal and Vaginal Hysterectomy

Author Affiliations

From the Channing Laboratory (Drs Shapiro, Tager, Muñoz, and Polk) and the Departments of Medicine (Drs Tager, Schoenbaum, and Polk) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (Drs Schoenbaum and Polk), Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. Dr Polk is now with the Department of Epidemiology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore.

JAMA. 1983;249(10):1290-1294. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330340032026

We performed a benefit-cost analysis of antimicrobial prophylaxis for hysterectomy using data from a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of the efficacy of three doses of cefazolin sodium. The excess cost per patient with either operative site or urinary tract infection, or febrile morbidity diagnosed during hospitalization, was $1,777 for vaginal and $716 for abdominal hysterectomy. In patients undergoing vaginal hysterectomy, prophylactic cefazolin reduced in-hospital infectious morbidity from 52% to 23% (preventive fraction, 56%), resulting in an average net benefit of $492 per patient. In abdominal hysterectomy, cefazolin decreased in-hospital morbidity from 43% to 25% (preventive fraction, 42%), resulting in an average net savings of $102 per patient. These benefits would be eroded by use of newer, more expensive cephalosporins unless they were considerably more effective than cefazolin. The benefits also would be diminished by inappropriate prolongation of the duration of prophylaxis.

(JAMA 1983;249:1290-1294)