BACKGROUND: Electrical cardioversion (ECV) is a procedure in which a direct current electric shock is used to quickly and effectively restore the normal sinus rhythm. Appropriate anticoagulation reduces the risk of embolic events during and after ECV. The aim of this study was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of rivaroxaban compared with vitamin K oral antagonists (VKAs) in patients with atrial fibrillation undergoing elective ECV in the Netherlands.
METHODS AND RESULTS: A static transmission model over a 1-year time horizon was developed to compare rivaroxaban with VKAs in terms of clinical outcomes, health effects (quality-adjusted life years; QALYs), and costs. Cost-effectiveness was assessed from a societal and health care payer perspective at a willingness-to-pay level of €20,000 per QALY gained. The use of rivaroxaban as an anticoagulant in patients with atrial fibrillation scheduled for ECV would lead to a health gain of 0.23 QALYs per patient and would cost €1.83 per patient from the societal perspective, resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of €7.92 per QALY gained. The probability of rivaroxaban being cost-saving compared with VKAs was 49.6% from this perspective. From the health care payer perspective, the incremental cost would be €509 per patient with a health gain of 0.23 QALYs per patient, resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of €2198 per QALY gained.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of rivaroxaban in elective ECV is a cost-effective alternative to the use of VKAs. Rivaroxaban has a 50% probability of being cost-saving compared with VKAs and would increase a patient's quality of life when non-health care costs such as productivity loss and informal care costs are taken into account.