Preventive treatment of CMV infection greatly reduces charges for liver

April 10, 2000

Cytomegalovirus infection is common in transplant recipients, affecting an estimated 30 to 60 percent of these patients. A recent Mayo Clinic study shows that this infection can have a striking economic impact and that preventive treatment of the infection in high risk patients significantly reduces charges.

Researchers looked at more than 150 liver transplant patients who were part of a trial testing two preventive antibiotic treatments for CMV. They analyzed charges for services delivered for three months after their transplant. They found patients with CMV disease used significantly more resources, including longer hospitalization, more intensive care unit stays and more blood transfusion, than did other patients. Charges reflected this: the average charges for patients who developed CMV disease were almost $35,000 higher than charges for patients without CMV infection and $28,700 higher than patients with asymptomatic CMV.

These differences were particularly striking in the highest risk group of patients -- patients without prior exposure to CMV who received donor organs harboring latent CMV. Patients in this group who were treated with the more effective anti-CMV treatment had average three-month charges of $113,000, compared to $153,000 charges for patients who received the less effective anti-CMV treatment. Carlos Paya, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic, says the study clearly demonstrates that preventive treatment of CMV is justified both from an economic and a patient care point of view.
The study appeared in the journal Transplantation.

Mayo Clinic

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