The randomized two-way factorial Dressing Study (1,636 patients, 28,931 catheter days) showed that a chlorhexidine-impregnated sponge decreased the incidence of major catheter-related infections from 1.
Here, we assessed the cost benefits of chlorhexidine-impregnated sponge use.
Costs directly related to major catheter-related infections and the costs of chlorhexidine-impregnated sponge and contact dermatitis were calculated prospectively using microcosting methods during the original study.
The added length of stay in the intensive care unit due to major catheter-related infection was estimated using the disability model and assuming a cost of $2,118/intensive care unit day.
The cost of each strategy was estimated based on all costs and on the probability of major catheter-related infection according to the Dressing Study results.
Median direct cost of major catheter-related infection was $792.
Estimated added length of stay due to major catheter-related infection was 11 days (95% confidence interval [-2 days; 26 days]).
Overall cost of major catheter-related infection was $24,090/episode.
Each dressing cost $9.
Assuming a baseline major catheter-related infection incidence of 1.
Chlorhexidine-impregnated sponge use remained cost saving assuming a baseline major catheter-related infection incidence as low as 0.
Chlorhexidine-impregnated sponge for arterial and central venous catheters saves money by preventing major catheter-related infections, even in intensive care units with low baseline major catheter-related infection levels.