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The Cost of Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infections: Implications for the Value of Prevention

Hollenbeak, Christopher S. PhD

Journal of Infusion Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/NAN.0b013e3182285e43

Catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs) are frequently observed in the intensive care unit (ICU) and are a serious cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. This article summarizes what is currently known about the cost of CRBSIs in the ICU setting. The cost of CRBSIs is between $33 000 and $44 000 in the general adult ICU, between $54 000 and $75 000 in the adult surgical ICU, and approximately $49 000 in the pediatric ICU. Finally, CRBSIs are associated with reimbursement that is more than $26 000 less than costs. Hospital and clinical decision makers should be aware of the high cost of CRBSIs in the ICU, the relatively poor reimbursement, and the implied high value of prevention efforts.

Author Information

Department of Surgery and Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Corresponding Author: Christopher S. Hollenbeak, PhD, Department of Surgery and Public Health Sciences, Division of Outcomes Research and Quality, 600 Centerview Dr, A210, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 17033 (

Christopher S. Hollenbeak is a health economist at Penn State College of Medicine. Much of his research focuses on the economic implication of healthcare-acquired infections. In previous research he has estimated the cost of surgical-site infections following a variety of surgical procedures and extended statistical methods to estimate the attributable cost of infections.

The author is a consultant for Catheter Connections and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control.

© Copyright 2011 by the Infusion Nurses Society