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JOURNAL ARTICLE

The costs of managing lower limb-threatening ischaemia

S Singh, L Evans, D Datta, P Gaines, J D Beard
European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery 1996, 12 (3): 359-62
8896481
One hundred and fifty consecutive patients presenting with limb-threatening ischaemia were studied prospectively to determine treatment and rehabilitation costs in the first year. Limb salvage was attempted in 104 (69%) patients but failed in 13%. Mortality at 1 year was 27%. The cost of treatment, inpatient stay, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, convalescence, disablement services, home adaptations, home care, district nursing, transportation and outpatient visits were determined for each patient. The patients were classified according to their presentation and initial treatment into five groups (number of patients) whose median management costs (interquartile range) for 12 months were: Gp 1 (23 - Revascularisation for acute ischaemia = 3970 pounds (2984-5511) Gp 2 (29) - Angioplasty for critical ischaemia = 6611 pounds (3630-10,200) Gp 3 (52) - Reconstruction for critical ischaemia = 6766 pounds (4337-9677) Gp 4 (34) - Primary amputation = 10,162 pounds (7894-13,026) Gp 5 (12) - Primary bilateral amputations = 13,848 pounds (11,440-18,056) At 1 year, there was no significant difference in the cost of managing a patient with a critically ischaemic limb by angioplasty or surgical reconstruction. The cost of revascularisation for acute ischaemia was comparatively low because these patients required minimal rehabilitation. The median cost of managing a patient following amputation was almost twice that of successful limb salvage justifying an aggressive revascularisation policy. However, justification of such a policy on economic grounds requires salvage failure episode to be minimised as they increase costs considerably.

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