Cost-effectiveness of induction of labour at term with a Foley catheter compared to vaginal prostaglandin E₂ gel (PROBAAT trial)

G J van Baaren, M Jozwiak, B C Opmeer, K Oude Rengerink, M Benthem, M G K Dijksterhuis, M E van Huizen, P C M van der Salm, N W E Schuitemaker, D N M Papatsonis, D A M Perquin, M Porath, J A M van der Post, R J P Rijnders, H C J Scheepers, M Spaanderman, M G van Pampus, J W de Leeuw, B W J Mol, K W M Bloemenkamp
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2013, 120 (8): 987-95

OBJECTIVE: To assess the economic consequences of labour induction with Foley catheter compared to prostaglandin E2 gel.

DESIGN: Economic evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial.

SETTING: Obstetric departments of one university and 11 teaching hospitals in the Netherlands.

POPULATION: Women scheduled for labour induction with a singleton pregnancy in cephalic presentation at term, intact membranes and an unfavourable cervix; and without previous caesarean section.

METHODS: Cost-effectiveness analysis from a hospital perspective.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We estimated direct medical costs associated with healthcare utilisation from randomisation to 6 weeks postpartum. For caesarean section rate, and maternal and neonatal morbidity we calculated the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios, which represent the costs to prevent one of these adverse outcomes.

RESULTS: Mean costs per woman in the Foley catheter group (n = 411) and in the prostaglandin E₂ gel group (n = 408), were €3297 versus €3075, respectively, with an average difference of €222 (95% confidence interval -€157 to €633). In the Foley catheter group we observed higher costs due to longer labour ward occupation and less cost related to induction material and neonatal admissions. Foley catheter induction showed a comparable caesarean section rate compared with prostaglandin induction, therefore the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was not informative. Foley induction resulted in fewer neonatal admissions (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio €2708) and asphyxia/postpartum haemorrhage (incremental cost-effectiveness ratios €5257) compared with prostaglandin induction.

CONCLUSIONS: Foley catheter and prostaglandin E2 labour induction generate comparable costs.

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