Cost-Effectiveness of Ventricular Assist Device Therapy as a Bridge to Transplantation Compared With Nonbridged Cardiac Recipients Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background— Current available treatment options for advanced heart failure include heart transplantation and ventricular assist device (VAD) therapy. This project aimed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a bridge-to-transplantation (BTT)–VAD approach relative to direct heart transplantation in transplant-eligible patients. Methods and Results— A Markov model was used to evaluate survival benefits and costs for BTT-VAD versus nonbridged heart transplant recipients. Three different scenarios were considered according to severity of patients’ baseline hemodynamic status (high, medium, and low risk). Results are presented in terms of survival, costs, and cost-effectiveness ratio. Sensitivity analyses were used to analyze uncertainty in model estimates. Over a 20-year time horizon, BTT-VAD therapy increased survival at an increased cost relative to nonbridged heart transplant recipients: $100 841more in costs and 1.19 increased life years (LYs) in high-risk patients ($84 964/LY), $112 779 more in costs and 1.14 more LYs ($99 039/LY) in medium-risk patients, and an additional cost of $144 334 and incremental clinical benefit of 1.21 more LYs ($119 574/LY) in low-risk patients. The sensitivity analysis estimated a 59%, 54%, and 43% chance of BTT-VAD therapy being cost-effective for high-, medium-, and low-risk patients at a willingness-to-pay level of $100 000/LY. Subgroup analyses indicated that risk of post-VAD and transplantation complications, waiting time, renal dysfunction, and patient age substantially affected the cost-effectiveness ratio. Conclusions— BTT-VAD therapy is associated with improved survival and increased costs. On the basis of commonly accepted willingness-to-pay thresholds, BTT-VAD therapy is likely to be cost-effective relative to nonbridged heart transplantation in specific circumstances.


  • Alba, Ana C
  • Alba, Luis F
  • Delgado, Diego H
  • Rao, Vivek
  • Ross, Heather J
  • Goeree, Ron

publication date

  • June 18, 2013

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