Cost burden of Clostridioides difficile infection to the health service: A retrospective cohort study in Scotland

Chris Robertson, Jiafeng Pan, Kim Kavanagh, Ian Ford, Colin McCowan, Marion Bennie, Charis Marwick, Alistair Leanord (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is associated with high healthcare demands and related costs.

Aim: To evaluate the healthcare and economic burden of CDI in hospitalized patients with community- (HOCA-CDI) or hospital-associated CDI (HOHA-CDI) in the National Health Service in Scotland.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted, examining data between August 2010 and July 2013 from four patient-level Scottish datasets, linked to death data. Data examined included prior antimicrobial prescriptions in the community, hospitalizations, length of stay and mortality. Each CDI case was matched to three hospital-based controls on the basis of age, gender, hospital and date of admission. Descriptive economic evaluations were based on bed-day costs for different types of wards.

Findings: Overall, 3304 CDI cases were included in the study. CDI was associated with additional median lengths of stay of 7.2 days for HOCA-CDI and 12.0 days for HOHA-CDI compared with their respective, matched controls. The 30-day mortality rate was 6.8% for HOCA-CDI and 12.4% for HOHA-CDI. Overall, recurrence within 90 days of the first CDI episode occurred in 373/2740 (13.6%) survivors. The median additional expenditure for each initial CDI case compared with matched controls was £1713. In the 6 months after the index hospitalization, the cost associated with a CDI case was £5126 higher than for controls.

Conclusion: Using routinely collected national data, we demonstrated the substantial burden of CDI on healthcare services, including lengthy hospital stays and readmissions, which increased the costs of managing patients with CDI compared with matched controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-561
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Clostridioides difficile infection
  • Community infection
  • Cost burden
  • Hospital infection
  • Retrospective cohort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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