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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


SOLANO, Víctor M.; HERNANDEZ, María J.; MONTES, Francisco Javier  and  ARRIBAS, José Luis. Update of the cost of needlestick injuries in hospital healthcare personnel. Gac Sanit [online]. 2005, vol.19, n.1, pp. 29-35. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To update the mean cost of each hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV follow-up in health personnel accidentally exposed to blood and body fluids, to stratify the cost depending on the serological status of the source, and to identify the items that account for the main part of the cost. Methods: A cost analysis was carried out. The postexposure program was modeled on a decision tree combining probabilities (percentage of each type of source depending on positivity for the three viruses and immunization status of the health worker against hepatitis B) and monetary costs (euros in 2002). Costs included salaries, laboratory, pharmacy (including postexposure prophylaxis), water, gas and electricity, cleaning, telephone, medical and office equipment, amortization and lost productivity. Results: The mean cost was 388 euros, ranging from 1,502 euros (source positive for hepatitis C and HIV) to 172 euros (source negative for the three viruses). If the source was hepatitis B positive, the mean cost was 666 euros when the injured worker was not immunized and was 467 euros if the worker was immunized. Serologic tests and postexposure prophylaxis accounted for the main part of the cost. Conclusions: The high cost suggests the need for appropriate risk evaluation to avoid unnecessary follow-ups. The model used allows the cost of each potentially avoidable episode to be determined and could be used in any hospital to perform an economic evaluation of new preventive devices.

Keywords : Needlestick injuries; Health personnel; Costs and cost analysis; Decision theory.

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