Economic Burden of Patient-Reported Penicillin Allergy on Total Hip and Total Knee Arthroplasty

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Journal of Arthroplasty


Introduction: Self-reported penicillin allergies in patients undergoing total joint arthroplasty often results in the use of second-line prophylactic antibiotics. A higher risk of prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is associated with suboptimal antibiotics vs first generation cephalosporins, which have historically been grouped with other beta-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin for potential allergic reactions. This study evaluates the economic burden of self-reported penicillin allergies in total joint arthroplasty (TJA). Methods: Data from studies reporting true incidence of IgE-mediated penicillin allergies, infection-free survivorship of TJA, and cost of PJI attributed to use of second-line antibiotics were obtained. Projected cost of preoperative penicillin allergy testing and potentially avoidable PJI associated with second-line antibiotic usage were calculated. This was compared with projected cost of PJI in the current state to estimate cost savings. Results: Implementation of preoperative penicillin allergy testing leads to a potential savings of nearly $37 million to payors in the first year based on 1-year survivorship. This savings increases to $411.6 million over a 10-year span and $1.18 billion over a 20-year span. Conclusion: Preoperative penicillin allergy testing or risk stratification via thorough history should be implemented as standard of care for patients with self-reported penicillin allergies before TJA and would result in decreased cost of PJI.

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Elsevier ; American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons