A Systematic Review of Cost-Effectiveness Analyses of Left Ventricular Assist Devices: Issues and Challenges
Advanced heart failure (HF) can be treated conservatively or aggressively, with left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) and heart transplant (HT) being the most aggressive strategies.
The goal of this review was to identify, describe, critique and summarize published cost-effectiveness analyses on LVADs for adults with HF.
We conducted a literature search using PubMed and ProQuest DIALOG databases to identify English-language publications from 2006 to 2017 describing cost-effectiveness analyses of LVADs and reviewed them against inclusion criteria. Those that met criteria were obtained for full-text review and abstracted if they continued to meet study requirements.
A total of 12 cost-effectiveness studies (13 articles) were identified, all of which described models; they were almost evenly split between those examining LVADs as destination therapy (DT) or as bridge to transplant (BTT). Studies were Markov or semi-Markov models with one- or three-month cycles that followed patients until death. Inputs came from a variety of sources, with the REMATCH trial and INTERMACS registry common clinical data sources, although some publications also used data from studies at their own institutions. Costs were derived from standard sources in many studies but from individual hospital data in some. Inputs for health utilities, which were used in 11 of 12 studies, were generally derived from two studies. None of the studies reported a societal perspective, that is, included non-medical costs such as caregiving.
No study found LVADs to be cost effective for DT or BTT with base case assumptions, although incremental cost-effectiveness ratios met thresholds for cost effectiveness in some probabilistic analyses. With constant improvements in LVADs and expanding indications, understanding and re-evaluating the cost effectiveness of their use will be critical to making treatment decisions.
All of the publications cited in this literature review are available to the public. Some are available as open access (freely available) documents, while some must be purchased.
All authors (JS, ML, JP, and PM) were involved with the design of the search strategy. JS and ML reviewed search results in detail to refine terms. JS completed the initial abstraction; ML provided QC. JP and PM provided insight on interpretation and organization of the text based on clinical knowledge. JS outlined the manuscript and developed a first draft of the Methods and Results sections and paragraphs on limitations; JP and PM drafted the Introduction and clinically-focused sections of the Conclusions. ML provided a critical review and revisions on the entire manuscript. All authors reviewed and approved the final submission.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
No funding was received for this analysis.
Conflict of interest
The authors (JS, ML, JP, and PM) report no conflicts of interest.
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