The economic value of screening haemodialysis patients for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the USA.


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can cause severe infections in patients undergoing haemodialysis. Routine periodic testing of haemodialysis patients and attempting to decolonize those who test positive may be a strategy to prevent MRSA infections. The economic value of such a strategy has not yet been estimated. We constructed a Markov computer simulation model to evaluate the economic value of employing routine testing (agar-based or PCR) at different MRSA prevalence, spontaneous clearance, costs of decolonization and decolonization success rates, performed every 3, 6 or 12 months. The model showed periodic MRSA surveillance with either test to be cost-effective (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio ≤$50 000/quality-adjusted life-year) for all conditions tested. Agar surveillance was dominant (i.e. less costly and more effective) at an MRSA prevalence ≥10% and a decolonization success rate ≥25% for all decolonization treatment costs tested with no spontaneous clearance. PCR surveillance was dominant when the MRSA prevalence was ≥20% and decolonization success rate was ≥75% with no spontaneous clearance. Routine periodic testing and decolonization of haemodialysis patients for MRSA may be a cost-effective strategy over a wide range of MRSA prevalences, decolonization success rates, and testing intervals.

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