Cost effectiveness of inpatient initiation of antiarrhythmic therapy for supraventricular tachycardias
This study assessed the cost effectiveness of inpatient antiarrhythmic therapy initiation for supraventricular tachycardias using a metaanalysis of proarrhythmic risk and a decision analysis that compared inpatient to outpatient therapy initiation. A MEDLINE search of trials of antiarrhythmic therapy for supraventricular tachycardias was performed, and episodes of cardiac arrest, sudden or unexplained death, syncope, and sustained or unstable ventricular arrhythmias were recorded. A weighted average event rate, by sample size, was calculated and applied to a clinical decision model of therapy initiation in which patients were either hospitalized for 72 hours or treated as outpatients. Fifty-seven drug trials involving 2,822 patients met study criteria. Based on a 72-hour weighted average event rate of 0.63% (95% confidence interval, 0.2% to 1.2%), inpatient therapy initiation cost $19,231 per year of life saved for a 60-year-old patient with a normal life expectancy. Hospitalization remained cost effective when event rates and life expectancies were varied to model hypothetical clinical scenarios. For example, cost-effectiveness ratios for a 40-year-old without structural heart disease and a 60-year-old with structural heart disease were $37,510 and $33,310, respectively, per year of life saved. Thus, a 72-hour hospitalization for antiarrhythmic therapy initiation is cost effective for most patients with supraventricular tachycardias.