A large study of infections following knee and hip replacement surgery found that the use of AQUACEL Ag SURGICAL cover dressing reduced post-operative joint infections by 76 percent, which study investigators estimate could save the U.S. healthcare system $375 million annually. Study results were published in The Journal of Arthroplasty1 and are also being presented in a symposium at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons on Friday, March 14 in New Orleans, LA.
Surgical site infections following joint replacement are devastating to patients and can be very costly—to the patient, the hospital and the payer system. According to the authors, post-operative joint infections are reported to occur in one to two percent of patients who undergo total joint arthroplasty and can cost $50,000 per patient to treat. If the infection is antibiotic resistant (e.g., MRSA and other superbugs), the cost to treat can double, surpassing $100,000 per patient.
Treatment of surgical site infection often requires additional surgery and can extend hospital stays up to ten days. In addition, joint infection after knee and hip replacement is ten times more likely to result in mortality than in patients who do not develop the infection.
“Joint infection following knee or hip replacement is a major concern with significant impacts—mental, physical and financial,” said Peter F. Sharkey, MD, Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery, Jefferson Medical College, Rothman Institute, author of the study. “As our findings show, the use of AQUACEL Ag SURGICAL cover dressing can play a vital role in reducing these burdens.”
Significant Savings and Return on Investment
In the U.S. alone, approximately one million knee and hip replacement surgeries are performed each year. Assuming the lower incidence of reported joint infection (1%), the lower cost of treatment ($50,000) and the reported near fourfold reduction of joint infections found in the study, the authors estimated that the cost of managing joint infection in the United States could be reduced by $375 million with the routine use of AQUACEL Ag SURGICAL cover dressing.
At a hospital level, the projected return on investment from using AQUACEL Ag SURGICAL cover dressing rather than traditional gauze is nearly 14 times the initial cost.
“With the increasing prevalence of superbugs such as MRSA, these savings could be even greater,” adds Dr. Sharkey. “The systematic use of AQUACEL Ag SURGICAL is an effective measure in preventing acute infection following total joint replacement.”
About the Study
The retrospective study included data collected at Riddle Memorial Hospital, part of Main Line Health in Media, PA, and evaluated the incidence of joint infection in 1,778 patients undergoing total joint repair. Patients received either AQUACEL Ag SURGICAL cover dressing or standard gauze dressing. Each dressing was applied to the surgical site in the operating room and kept in place for five days postoperatively. The decision to switch to applying the AQUACEL Ag SURGICAL cover dressing to surgical sites was part of the multimodal approach to reduce surgical site infections at Riddle Hospital.
Results of the study found a near fourfold reduction in surgical sites infections (0.4 percent when AQUACEL Ag SURGICAL cover dressing was used compared to 1.7 percent when standard gauze dressing was used) with a high level of confidence and statistical significance (P = 0.005).
1 Cai J. et al, Aquacel Surgical Dressing Reduces the Rate of Acute PJI Following Total Joint Arthroplasty: A Case-Control Study. J Arthroplasty (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.arth.2013.11.012]