Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) causes an intestinal bacterial infection of increasing importance in Michigan residents and health-care facilities. The specific burden and health-care costs of C. difficile infection (CDI) were previously unknown. We evaluated the frequency, mortality, and health-care charges of CDI from Michigan hospital discharge data.
The Michigan Department of Community Health purchased discharge data from all Michigan acute care hospitals from the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. We extracted all hospital discharges from 2002 through 2008 containing the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code for intestinal infection due to C. difficile. Discharges were stratified by principle diagnosis and comorbidity level. Total hospitalization charges were standardized to the 2008 U.S. dollar.
From 2002 through 2008, 68,686 hospital discharges with CDI occurred. The annual rate increased from 463.1 to 1096.5 CDI discharges per 100,000 discharges. CDI discharge rates were substantially higher among the elderly, females, and black people. Of all CDI discharges, 5,924 (8.6%) patients died. The mean total health-care charge for the time period was $67,149, and the annual mean increased 35% from 2002 to 2008. Hospital charges varied significantly by race/ethnicity and age. People with Medicaid insurance accrued the highest charges.
Across Michigan, the CDI burden is growing substantially and affecting vulnerable populations. Surveillance utilizing hospital discharge data can illuminate trends and inform intervention targets. To reduce disease and health-care charges, increased prevention and infection-control efforts should be directed toward high-risk populations, such as the elderly.