The clinical effectiveness of the preoperative urinalysis is unproven, yet it is routinely obtained before surgery. To determine if the routine urinalysis might be economically beneficial, we evaluated its cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit. In the setting of elective clean-wound, non-prosthetic knee procedures, we estimated that: (1) nearly U.S. $7,000,000 is spent annually on preoperative urinalyses and associated costs; (2) given the best estimate of the increase in risk of wound infection attributable to urinary tract infection, 4.58 wound infections may be prevented annually, at a cost of $1,500,000 per wound infection prevented; (3) the cost of treating additional cases of wound infection, given no preoperative urinalysis, is approximately five hundred-fold less than the cost of screening with routine urinalyses. We conclude that the routine preoperative urinalysis is clinically and economically unsound before clean-wound, non-prosthetic knee surgery and probably before other types of clean-wound surgery. For this relatively inexpensive test, aggregate costs are disproportionately high and appear to outweigh clinical benefits.
- Preoperative screening
- Urinary tract infection
- Wound infection Cost-effectiveness
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