Cost-effectiveness of physiologic pacing: Results of the Canadian Health Economic Assessment of Physiologic Pacing
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OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to determine the cost-effectiveness of physiologic pacemakers. BACKGROUND: The Canadian Trial of Physiologic Pacing (CTOPP) was a large randomized trial that evaluated the efficacy of physiologic pacing compared with ventricular pacing. CTOPP also included a prospective cost-effectiveness substudy. METHODS: Resource usage and costs were collected from a subset of 472 patients (of 1,094) who received a physiologic pacemaker and 586 (of 1,474) who received a ventricular pacemaker. Costs included initial pacemaker implantation and all health care follow-up costs over a follow-up of 5.2 years. Costs are reported in 2004 Canadian dollars (1 Canadian dollar = 0.76 US dollars), with adjustments for censoring. Incremental cost-effectiveness was estimated as the ratio of the difference (treatment-control) in mean cost to the difference in life expectancy (mean survival), with costs and effects discounted at 3% per year. RESULTS: Over a mean follow-up of 3.1 years, physiologic pacing was associated with a gain of 0.01 life-years. This benefit increases to 0.25 life-years in the subgroup of patients with an intrinsic (unpaced) heart rate < or =60 bpm. Physiologic pacing was more expensive than ventricular (16,833 Canadian dollars vs 13,857 US dollars), largely because of the increased cost of dual-chamber devices. Among all substudy patients, the incremental cost-effectiveness of physiologic pacing is 297,600 Canadian dollars per life-year gained; however, this value falls to 16,343 Canadian dollars in patients with an intrinsic heart rate >60. CONCLUSIONS: In the short term, a strategy of routine implantation of physiologic pacemakers is not cost-effective by currently accepted standards. The selective use of these devices in patients likely to be pacemaker dependent appears to be cost-effective. Further studies with longer follow-up and which consider the benefit of reducing nonfatal cardiac events would be valuable.