New study analyzed the costs of feces transplantation compared to the alternative - which is treatment with antibiotics using products such as vancomycin and fidaxomicin.
These are the perspectives of the first observational study in the world to detail how things went for the fifty patients who received a faeces transplantation for Clostridium difficile colitis in 2014 and 2015 as an alternative to the antibiotics that are otherwise regarded state-of-the-art.
"Our study shows that on average the patients each avoided seventeen days in hospital the first year after their faeces transplantation.
"There are other studies that make theoretical calculations about what the different types of treatment cost society, but this is the first time anyone has made calculations based on the patients' actual medical history - with costs and derived hospital savings calculated one year before and one year after the feces transplantation," he says.
In the actual study, the Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology has provided data in the form of patient medical records for all of the fifty patients who received a feces transplantation at Aarhus University Hospital during 2014 and 2015.
All of the medical records and documents have then been reviewed in minute detail with a calculator at hand at the Department of Business and Management at Aalborg University with health economist and Professor Lars Holger Ehlers overseeing things. Following this, the results have been put through what is known as a sensitivity analysis to prevent any over-interpretation of the results.
"As an example, we take into account that these patients have already contracted Clostridium difficile in connection with another illness - and this is what characterises the bacteria - and that they spend many days in hospital for this reason alone. So we can be certain that the large difference in hospital costs is due to the Clostridium difficile disease itself and the subsequent faeces transplantation and not other diseases. This is where we use the sensitivity analysis and test different scenarios," professor Lars Holger Ehlers explains.
Lars Holger Ehlers collaborates with Christian Lodberg Hvas in CEFTA, the Centre for Faecal Microbiota Transplantation at Aarhus University Hospital, which also includes Professor Tine Rask Licht from the Technical University of Denmark and Consultant and Professor and Chair Christian Erikstrup from the Blood Bank and Immunology at Aarhus University Hospital.
CEFTA works with the support of the Innovation Fund Denmark to turn faeces from healthy, registered and thoroughly tested donors into a standard treatment for the persistent bacteria which is today regarded as one of the most dangerous bacteria to humans. To do this, a faeces bank is being created in Aarhus organised according to the principles of the blood bank. "The faeces transplantation is a new and extremely effective treatment. The introduction of new treatments is usually very expensive, but here we have a form of treatment that on top of everything also saves society millions of Euro every month. If we can establish a system that safeguards both patients and donors, then it'll be of huge benefit for everyone. And we're well on the way to doing that," says Christian Lodberg Hvas.
The research results - more information
The study was an observational study that included all patients who were given a faeces transplantation for recurrent Clostridium difficile infections during 2014 and 2015 at the Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Aarhus University Hospital. The study was carried out in collaboration with the Department of Business and Management at Aalborg University led by Professor Lars Ehlers.
In the study, all hospital costs in both the year before and the year after the faeces transplantation were calculated according to health economic research methods, in particular the time-driven activity-based costing approach.