The cost

Once a wound is infected, it’s too late to prevent it

People suffering from chronic wounds or complications from acute wounds are affected in many ways. Pain, anxiety and depression have been reported, as well as limitations due to dressing changes. Troublesome symptoms, such as wound secretion and odor, may lead to isolation. In some cases, individuals also face the financial burden of travel costs, sick leave and the cost of dressings and compression therapy.

The human and economic cost of surgical site infections

Surgical site infections (SSI) are a huge health problem worldwide. SSI is a common postoperative complication in vascular, obstetric, gynecologic, gastric, thoracic, and cardiovascular surgery. It prolongs hospitalization and contributes to significant morbidity and mortality.1,2

SSIs associated with the increase in antibiotic resistance have also become a therapeutic challenge for physicians worldwide.

  • SSIs are the second most common nosocomial (hospital acquired) infections.3
  • An SSI is estimated to add approximately 3–21 days to a patient’s hospital stay. This results in additional treatment costing between 900€–7300€4, depending on the type of surgery and severity of the infection.2,4
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A woman sitting on a bed with one leg as a faded illustrated silhouette. With the text: Every 20 seconds a diabetic foot is amputated due to infection*

The human and economic cost of chronic wounds

Most chronic wounds are ulcers associated with ischemia, diabetes mellitus, venous stasis disease, or pressure. This poses a health problem with devastating consequences for patients’ quality of life. It also results in major costs for the healthcare system and society.

Chronic wounds account for approximately 2–4% of the healthcare budget.5 Costs related to treatment, such as dressings, contribute a minor part of the total cost. Treatment costs increase substantially with wound severity, driven primarily by the management of wound complications (e.g. local or systemic infections). Infections delay wound healing and can lead to hospitalization.

* Diabetic Foot online

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1.WHO. 2011. Report on the burden of endemic health care-associated infection worldwide. Geneva: World Health
2.European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. 2013. Point prevalence survey of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use in European acute care hospitals. Stockholm:
3.Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare. 2020. Surgical Site infections. Joint Commission Center for Transforming
4.Leaper DJ, van Goor H, et al. 2004. Surgical site infection - a European perspective of incidence and economic burden. Int Wound J. 1(4):247–
5.Posnett J, Gottrup F, et al. 2009. The resource impact of wounds on healthcare providers in Europe. J Wound Care. 18(4)

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