Cost-utility of extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation in patients with cardiac arrest

Murtaza I Bharmal, Joseph M Venturini, Rhys F M Chua, Willard W Sharp, David G Beiser, Corey E Tabit, Taishi Hirai, Jonathan R Rosenberg, Janet Friant, John E A Blair, Jonathan D Paul, Sandeep Nathan, Atman P Shah
Resuscitation 2019, 136: 126-130

BACKGROUND: Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) is a resource-intensive tool that provides haemodynamic and respiratory support in patients who have suffered cardiac arrest. In this study, we investigated the cost-utility of ECPR (cost/QALY) in cardiac arrest patients treated at our institution.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of patients who received ECPR following cardiac arrest between 2012 and 2018. All medical care-associated charges with ECPR and subsequent hospital admission were recorded. The quality-of-life of survivors was assessed with the Health Utilities Index Mark II. The cost-utility of ECPR was calculated with cost and quality-of-life data.

RESULTS: ECPR was used in 32 patients (15/32 in-hospital, 47%) with a median age of 55.0 years (IQR 46.3-63.3 years), 59% male and 66% African American. The median duration of ECPR support was 2.1 days (IQR 0.9-3.8 days). Survival to hospital discharge was 16%. The median score of the Health Utilities Index Mark II at discharge for the survivors was 0.44 (IQR 0.32-0.52). The median operating cost for patients undergoing ECMO was $125,683 per patient (IQR $49,751-$206,341 per patient). The calculated cost-utility for ECPR was $56,156/QALY gained.

CONCLUSIONS: The calculated cost-utility is within the threshold considered cost-effective in the United States (<$150,000/QALY gained). These results are comparable to the cost-effectiveness of heart transplantation for end-stage heart failure. Larger studies are needed to assess the cost-utility of ECPR and to identify whether other factors, such as patient characteristics, affect the cost-utility benefit.

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