Outpatient treatment of venous thromboembolism with low-molecular-weight heparin: an economic evaluation

Daniel M Huse, Gordon Cummins, Douglas C A Taylor, Mason W Russell
American Journal of Managed Care 2002, 8 (1): S10-6

BACKGROUND: The development of low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWHs) has made it possible to shift treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) from inpatient to outpatient settings, thereby saving costs and improving patient quality of life.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify the economic benefits of early discharge of patients treated for DVT with LMWH using data pooled from multiple healthcare plans.

METHODS: Data sources were integrated medical and pharmacy claims paid by 37 US health plans (the PharMetrics Integrated Outcomes Database, PharMetrics, Inc., Watertown, MA). Hospitalized patients discharged with a diagnosis of DVT were selected and grouped according to the anticoagulation therapy they received after discharge. Outcomes and costs of DVT treatment were assessed over a 1-year period.

RESULTS: Patients discharged on the LMWH enoxaparin and warfarin spent 2.6 fewer days in the hospital than those discharged on warfarin alone (P< .0001), resulting in cost savings of $1911 per patient. Mean costs of outpatient management of DVT, including pharmacy and medical services, were $901 higher in the enoxaparin/warfarin cohort, but rate of readmission was lower (6.7% versus 9.0%; P < .05) and hence subsequent inpatient costs were reduced by $140 per patient. Total cost savings in the enoxaparin/warfarin cohort, net of higher outpatient costs, were $1151 per patient.

CONCLUSIONS: Outpatient anticoagulation therapy for DVT with enoxaparin and warfarin is associated with earlier hospital discharge, fewer readmissions, and lower total DVT-related costs compared with warfarin monotherapy.

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