Cost Effectiveness of Ventricular Tachycardia Ablation Versus Escalation of Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy
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OBJECTIVES: This analysis uses the data from the randomized controlled trial to assess the cost effectiveness of catheter ablation (n = 132) versus escalated antiarrhythmic therapy (n = 127). BACKGROUND: For survivors of myocardial infarction with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator shocks despite antiarrhythmic drugs, the VANISH (Ventricular Tachycardia Ablation Versus Escalated Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy in Ischemic Heart Disease) trial demonstrated improved clinical outcomes with catheter ablation compared with more aggressive antiarrhythmic pharmacotherapy. METHODS: Health care resource use and quality-of-life data were used to determine the cost effectiveness of catheter ablation. Published references were used to estimate costs (in 2015 Canadian dollars). The analysis was over 3 years, with a 5% discount rate. Adjustment was made for censoring and baseline utilities. RESULTS: Ablation resulted in greater quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) than escalated drug therapy did (1.63 vs. 1.49; difference: 0.14; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.20 to 0.46) and higher cost ($65,126 vs. $60,269; difference: $4,857; 95% CI: -$19,757 to $27,106); with an incremental cost per QALY gained for ablation versus escalated drug therapy of $34,057 primarily due to the initial costs of ablation, which were partially offset by the costs of subsequent ablations and adverse outcomes in the escalated drug therapy arm. For patients with amiodarone-refractory ventricular tachycardia, ablation dominated escalated drug therapy, with greater QALYs (1.48 vs. 1.26; difference: 0.22; 95% CI: -0.19 to 0.59) and lower costs ($67,614 vs. $68,383; difference: -$769; 95% CI: -$35,330 to $27,092). For those with sotalol-refractory ventricular tachycardia, ablation resulted in similar QALYs (1.90 vs. 1.90; difference: -0.00; 95% CI: -0.59 to 0.62) and higher costs ($60,455 vs. $45,033; difference: $15,422; 95% CI: -$10,968 to $48,555). CONCLUSIONS: For the total trial population, results are suggestive that ablation is cost effective compared with escalation of drug therapy. This result was only manifest for the subgroup of patients whose qualifying arrhythmia occurred despite amiodarone.