Int J Cardiol. 2022 Apr 5:S0167-5273(22)00483-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2022.04.003. Online ahead of print.
AIMS: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) causes high mortality and substantial societal burdens for healthcare systems (HSs). The risk of SCD is significantly increased in patients with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction after myocardial infarction (MI). Current guidelines recommend re-evaluation of cardioverter-defibrillator implantation 40 days post-MI, earliest. Medical therapy alone does not provide sufficient protection against SCD, especially in the first month post-MI, and needs time. Consequently, there is a gap in care of high-risk patients upon hospital discharge. The wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) is a proven safe, effective therapy, which temporarily protects from SCD. Little information on WCD cost-effectiveness exists. We conducted this research to demonstrate the medical need of the device in the post-MI setting defining WCD cost-effectiveness.
METHODS & RESULTS: Based on a randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and Italian and international data, we developed a Markov-model comparing costs, patient survival, and quality-of-life, and calculated the Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) of a WCD vs. current standard of care in post-MI patients. The rather conservative base case analysis - based on the RCT intention-to-treat results - produced an ICER of €47,709 per Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) gained, which is far lower than the accepted threshold of €60,000 in the Italian National HS. The ICER per Life Year (LY) gained was €38,276.
CONCLUSION: WCD utilization in post-MI patients is clinically beneficial and cost-effective. While improving guideline directed patient care, the WCD can also contribute to a more efficient use of resources in the Italian HS, and potentially other HSs as well.