Home non-invasive mechanical ventilation and long-term oxygen therapy in stable hypercapnic chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients: comparison of costs

Enrico M Clini, Giovanna Magni, Ernesto Crisafulli, Stefano Viaggi, Nicolino Ambrosino
Respiration; International Review of Thoracic Diseases 2009, 77 (1): 44-50

BACKGROUND: A cost analysis of nocturnal non-invasive ventilation (NNV) in stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients would be helpful in decision making, when the balance between the increased demand and the availability of resources should be checked.

OBJECTIVES: Based on data from the Italian trial in stable hypercapnic COPD patients, this study compares the cost of care associated with the use of NNV when added to the usual long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) with the cost of care of LTOT regimen alone.

METHODS: Cost was calculated in 77 of 90 patients included into that trial. Analysis included drug therapy, hospitalisations due to acute exacerbation, oxygen and ventilator equipment. An estimation of charges was made according to the national sources of cost for drugs and hospital admissions and the actualised reimbursement for the home care provided to both oxygen and ventilator users. The cost/day comparison was made between the individual patients in the 2 groups (NNV + LTOT, n = 35; LTOT, n = 42).

RESULTS: The mean cost of drugs and oxygen was similar in both groups, whereas the cost of hospitalisation tended to be lower in NNV + LTOT compared to LTOT alone (8.25 +/-10.29 vs. 12.50 +/- 20.28 EUR/patient/day, p < 0.05). Inclusion of the ventilator equipment increased the total cost to 23.73 EUR/day in the NNV + LTOT compared to 21.42 EUR/day in the LTOT group (not significant).

CONCLUSIONS: The present report suggests that long-term management with addition of non-invasive ventilation does not increase costs compared with the usual LTOT regimen: the hospital-related costs were reduced when using the ventilator in these hypercapnic COPD patients.

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