Study Finds That Prostate Biopsy Infections Are On The Rise


According to a new study of elderly men published in the Journal of Urology, serious infections after prostate biopsies appear to be on the rise in the United States. The study noted that 6.9 percent of men who had prostate biopsies were back in the hospital within a month, while those who did not have the biopsy with similar demographics (age, location, health, etc.) were only 2.7 percent.

Of the more than a million prostate biopsies done each year on Medicare patients, the majority are just investigating a false from other prostate cancer screening procedures; something I wrote about last week. That study had said that about one in five men will have abnormal screening results which will trigger the biopsy.

More interesting is that of the biopsy groups, 4 out of the 1,000 were hospitalized with an infection within a month following the procedure. This is up from 2 out of 1,000 in the comparison group. The lead researcher was hesitant to state there was a correlation, but there may be some correlation. Particularly because the biopsy is done through the rectum, which could easily introduce bacteria to the prostate and cause the infection.

This appears to be a case of overtreatment causing problems for patients; another trend which I had recently written about and which has gained national attention. Particularly with the litigation surrounding the Affordable Care Act and the overall goals of the health care reform.

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