Cost-effectiveness of bacteriuria screening before urogynecologic surgery

Published:December 16, 2021DOI:


      Currently, there is controversy over who requires preoperative screening for bacteriuria in the urogynecologic population and whether treating asymptomatic bacteriuria reduces postoperative urinary tract infection rates.


      To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of selective, universal, and no preoperative bacteriuria screening protocols in women undergoing surgery for prolapse or stress urinary incontinence.

      Study Design

      A simple decision tree model was created from a societal perspective to evaluate cost and effectiveness of 3 strategies to prevent postoperative urinary tract infection: (1) a universal protocol where all women undergoing urogynecologic surgery are screened for bacteriuria and receive preemptive treatment if bacteriuria is identified; (2) a selective protocol, where only women with a history of recurrent urinary tract infection are screened and treated for bacteriuria; and (3) a no-screening protocol, where no women are screened for bacteriuria. Our primary outcome was the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, calculated in cost per quality-adjusted life-years. Secondary outcomes were the number of urine cultures, postoperative urinary tract infections, and pyelonephritis associated with each strategy. Costs were derived from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, and Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Clinical estimates were derived from published literature and data from a historic surgical cohort. Quality-of-life-associated utilities for urinary tract infection (0.73), pyelonephritis (0.66), and antibiotic use (0.964) were derived from the published literature using the HALex scale, reported directly by affected patients. One-way sensitivity analyses were performed over the range of reported values.


      In the base case scenario, selective screening is more costly (no screen: $101.69, selective: $101.98) and more effective (no screen: 0.096459 quality-adjusted-life-year, selective: 0.096464 quality-adjusted-life-year) than no screening, and is cost-effective, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $49,349 per quality-adjusted-life-year. Both selective screening and no screening dominate universal screening in being less costly (universal: $111.92) and more effective (universal: 0.096446 quality-adjusted-life-year), with a slightly higher rate of postoperative urinary tract infection (no screen: 17.1%, selective: 16.9%, universal: 16.6%). In 1-way sensitivity analyses, selective screening is no longer cost-effective compared with no screening when the cost of a urine culture exceeds $12, cost of a preoperative urinary tract infection exceeds $93, the cost of a postoperative urinary tract infection is below $339, the specificity of a urine culture is less than 96%, or preoperative bacteriuria rates in those without symptoms but a history of recurrent urinary tract infection is <23%. Universal screening only becomes cost-effective when the postoperative urinary tract infection rate increases to >50% in those without risk factors and untreated preoperative bacteriuria. When compared with no screening, selective screening costs an additional $104 per urinary tract infection avoided and $2607 per pyelonephritis avoided. Compared with selective screening, universal screening costs $4609 per urinary tract infection avoided and $115,223 per pyelonephritis avoided.


      Implementation of a selective preoperative bacteriuria protocol is cost-effective in most scenarios and associated with only a <1% increase in the 30-day postoperative urinary tract infection rate. No screening is cost-effective when cost of a preoperative urinary tract infection is high and the rate of preoperative bacteriuria in those without risk factors is low.

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