BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Patients with acute ischemic stroke due to large vessel occlusion (LVO) deemed eligible for endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) are transferred from the emergency room to the angiography suite to undergo the procedure. Recently, the strategy of direct transfer of patients with suspected LVO to the angiography suite (DTAS) has been shown to improve functional outcomes. This study aims to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the DTAS strategy vs initial transfer of patients with suspected LVO (Rapid Arterial Occlusion Evaluation score >4 and NIH Stroke Scale >10) to the emergency room (ITER).
METHODS: A decision-analytic Markov model was developed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of the DTAS strategy vs the ITER strategy from a Dutch health care perspective with a 10-year time horizon. The primary outcome was the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) using Dutch thresholds of $59,135 (€50,000) and $94,616 (€80,000) per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Uncertainty of input parameters was assessed using 1-way sensitivity analysis, scenario analysis, and probabilistic sensitivity analysis.
RESULTS: The DTAS strategy yielded 0.65 additional QALYs at an additional $16,089, resulting in an ICER of $24,925/QALY compared with the ITER strategy. The ICER varied from $27,169 to $38,325/QALY across different scenarios. The probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed that the DTAS strategy had a 91.8% and 97.0% likelihood of being cost-effective at a decision threshold of $59,135/QALY and $94,616/QALY, respectively.
DISCUSSION: The cost-effectiveness of the DTAS strategy over ITER is robust for patients with suspected LVO. Together with recently published clinical results, this means that implementation of the DTAS strategy may be considered to improve the workflow and outcome of EVT.