OBJECTIVES: Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) is a complication of end-stage liver disease with a reported mortality of 30-50%. In this study, we investigated the outcome of all patients admitted to Maryland hospitals with SBP from 1988 to 1998. Main outcomes considered included trends in survival rates over time, changes in the length of stay, total health care costs, and variables that predicted survival rates. METHODS: We used the Maryland Health Services Cost Review database of all patients admitted to Maryland hospitals with an International Classification of Diseases (Ninth Revision) code for both peritonitis and cirrhosis from 1988 to 1998. RESULTS: A total of 348 patients were admitted with an in-hospital mortality of 32.6%; there was no significant change in mortality rate during this period. The survival rate was similar in the university and community hospitals. In the logistic regression analysis, age (p = 0.001) and intensive care unit stay (p = 0.0001) were found to significantly influence the survival rates; those patients who had an intensive care unit stay were 2.8 times more likely to die than those who did not have an intensive care unit stay, controlling for age. The average length of hospital stay remained unchanged (13.5 ± 12.7 days) during the study period. Although the median hospital charge (excluding professional fees) remained unchanged, mean inflation-adjusted charges increased from $7,897 in 1988 to $25,902 in 1998. CONCLUSIONS: The mortality rate associated with SBP has remained unchanged over an 11-yr period from 1988 to 1998. The mortality showed a strong correlation with age and intensive care unit stay. The median hospital stay and median charges remained unchanged during this period, but mean costs increased significantly because of increased use of resources by a few patients.
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