Home and Community Care Digest
Home inotropic infusion combined with internal defibrillator for heart failure patients is cost effective
Method: Prospective cost data were collected on 21 consecutive HF patients receiving continuous outpatient inotropic therapy awaiting cardiac transplant over 3 years. Daily costs for outpatient therapy including drug delivery, infusion pump rental, per diem drug rates, visiting nurse costs, clinic billing, and equipment testing were calculated and compared to projected in-hospital costs.
Findings: Outpatient therapy yielded an estimated minimal cost savings of $71,300 to a maximum of $120,500 per patient. At $62,000 per procedure, AICD implantation was the largest single cost incurred by patients during outpatient. Despite this large fixed cost, the outpatient treatment protocol was always less expensive than in-hospital waiting. Using minimum hospital costs estimates, in-hospital treatment was more expensive than immediate discharge to home inotropic therapy post AICD implantation, provided the patient was treated for more than 40 days. In this study, only 5 out of 20 patients died or received cardiac transplant within 40 days. Since it is impossible to predict who will be on service less than 40 days, the analysis shows that overall, immediate discharge is the least costly strategy to adopt for all patients.
Conclusions: Outpatient inotropic therapy combined with AICD implantation for eligible HF patients is effective as a cost-saving strategy while awaiting cardiac transplantation.
Reference: Upadya SP, Sedrakyan A, Saldarriaga C, Nystrom K, Bozzo J, Lee FA, Katz SD. "Comparative costs of home positive inotropic infusion versus in-hospital care in patients awaiting cardiac transplantation." Journal of Cardiac Failure, 2004; 10(5), 384-9.
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