Health utility values associated with surgical site infection: a systematic review

Adrian Gheorghe, Grace Moran, Helen Duffy, Tracy Roberts, Thomas Pinkney, Melanie Calvert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Surgical site infection (SSI) is a costly postoperative complication whose impact on patients' health-related quality of life is highly uncertain and has not been summarized to date.

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to summarize the evidence base on SSI health utility values reported in patient-level studies and decision models.

METHODS: A systematic review of SSI utility values reported in patient-level and decision modeling studies was carried out. Studies in which utility values for SSI were either invoked (e.g., model-based economic evaluations) or elicited (e.g., valuation exercises), or at least one non-preference-based instrument was administered to patients with SSI after open surgery were included. Mapping algorithms were used, where appropriate, to calculate utilities from primary data. Results were summarized narratively, and the quality of the utility values used in the included modeling studies was assessed.

RESULTS: Of 6552 records identified in the database search, 28 studies were included in the review: 19 model-based economic evaluations and 9 patient-level studies. SSI utility decrements ranged from 0.04 to 0.48, of which 19 ranged from 0.1 to 0.3. SSI utility decrements could be calculated for three patient-level studies, and their values ranged from 0.05 (7 days postoperatively) to 0.124 (1 year postoperatively). In most modeling studies, SSI utilities were informed by authors' assumptions or by secondary sources.

CONCLUSIONS: SSI may substantially affect patients' health utility and needs to be considered when modeling decision problems in surgery. The evidence base for SSI utilities is of questionable quality and skewed toward orthopedic surgery. Further research must concentrate on producing reliable estimates for patients without orthopedic problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1126-37
Number of pages12
JournalValue in Health
Issue number8
Early online date26 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • health utility
  • surgical site infection
  • systematic review


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