Cost-Effectiveness of Therapeutic Hypothermia After Cardiac Arrest

Hypothermia after cardiac arrest (HACA) is a cost-effective way to improve the long-term quality of life of heart attack survivors.

This study investigated the costs of treating cardiac arrest patients with induced hypothermia. HACA can improve both survival and neurological outcomes in patients. The authors constructed a decision model and used published data to create a hypothetical cohort of patients. The statistical parameters included a range of cost variables such as: nurse training, annual depreciation in the value of equipment and life expectancy for survivors. The model contained probabilities for survival with good neurological function, survival with poor neurological function and death. The standard for cost-effectiveness was $100, 000 per quality adjusted life year (QALY).

In the model, cardiac arrest patients who underwent therapeutic hypothermia gained an average of 0.66 QALY at an incremental cost of $31, 254.

Therapeutic hypothermia has improved survival rates and long-term outcomes for patients who experience a coma following out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Estimates suggest a significant number of patients could achieve better neurological outcomes if treated with HACA. However, concerns about the costs of HACA relative to its benefits have limited its use. The findings of this study suggest that HACA is an economically viable treatment option.