Earnshaw S, McDade C, Bryan A, Ines M, Micallef C, Sung A, Enoch D. Real-world financial and clinical impact of diagnostic-driven and empirical-treatment strategies in high-risk immunocompromised patients with suspected aspergillus infection in the United Kingdom. Microbiol Spectr. 2022 May 9;e0042522. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.00425-22

A diagnostic-driven (DD) treatment strategy has proven successful for treating invasive fungal infections (IFIs) caused by Aspergillus. However, uptake of this treatment strategy is not fully embraced. This study compares the economic and clinical impact of DD and empirical-treatment (ET) strategies used within hospitals. Methods: a decision-analytic model was developed to compare costs and clinical outcomes associated with ET or a DD strategy of identifying infections caused by Aspergillus via galactomannan-antigen testing or Aspergillus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in neutropenic patients with unexplained fever. Patients were treated prophylactically with antifungal treatments as seen in United Kingdom (UK) hospitals. The IFI incidence, response, mortality, resource use, and adverse events were obtained from meta-analyses and other clinical studies. Analyses were performed from the U.K. hospital perspective, and costs were obtained from standard costing sources. Although diagnostictesting costs increased, total cost and length of stay were reduced by £1,121 and 1.54 days when treating via a DD strategy. Intensive care and general ward days accounted for . 40% of total costs and . 58% of the cost reduction came from reduced antifungal costs. Treating with a DD strategy reduced the number of patients being treated with antifungal agents while survival was increased. Thus, a DD strategy was cost savings (-£136,787 cost per death avoided) compared with an ET strategy. Conclusion: this study suggests that incorporating a DD strategy as the preferred treatment protocol may be a cost-saving and clinically improved treatment strategy for managing neutropenic patients with unexplained fever.

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