Induction of labour versus expectant management for prelabour rupture of the membranes at term: an economic evaluation. TERMPROM Study Group. Term Prelabour Rupture of the Membranes.
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BACKGROUND: As the interval between rupture of the fetal membranes at term and delivery increases, so may the risk of fetal and maternal infection. Recently the TERMPROM (Term Prelabor Rupture of the Membranes) Study Group reported the results of a randomized controlled trial comparing 4 management strategies: induction with oxytocin (IwO), induction with prostaglandin (IwP), and expectant management and induction with either oxytocin (EM-O) or prostaglandin (EM-P) if complications developed. The study found no statistically significant differences in neonatal infection and cesarean section rates between any of the 4 groups. OBJECTIVE: To conduct an economic evaluation comparing the cost of (a) IwO and EM-O, (b) IwP and EM-P and (c) IwO and IwP. DESIGN: An economic analysis, conducted alongside the clinical trial, using a third-party payer perspective. Analysis included all treatment costs incurred for both the mother and the baby. Information on health care utilization and outcomes was collected for all study participants. Three countries (Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia), corresponding to the largest study recruitment, were chosen for calculation of unit costs. For each country, the base, low and high estimates of unit cost for each service item were generated. Intention-to-treat analysis. Extensive statistical and sensitivity analyses were performed. RESULTS: The median cost of IwO per patient was significantly lower statistically than that of EM-O and IwP. This result held in all 3 countries compared -$114 and -$46 in Canada, -113 Pounds and -63 Pounds in the UK, and -A$30 and -A$49 in Australia) and after an extensive sensitivity analysis. There was no statistically significant difference in median cost per patient between IwP and EM-P. CONCLUSION: Although the clinical results of the TERMPROM study did not find IwO to be preferable to the other treatment alternatives, the economic evaluation found it to be less costly. However, these cost differences, even though statistically significant, are not likely to be important in many countries. When this is the case, the authors recommend that women be offered a choice between management strategies.
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