Cost-effectiveness of 7-day-Holter monitoring alone or in combination with transthoracic echocardiography in patients with cerebral ischemia
Background and purpose
Prolonged Holter monitoring of patients with cerebral ischemia increases the detection rate of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF); this leads to improved antithrombotic regimens aimed at preventing recurrent ischemic strokes. The aim of this study was to compare a 7-day-Holter monitoring (7-d-Holter) alone or in combination with prior selection via transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) to a standard 24-h-Holter using a cost-utility analysis.
Lifetime cost, quality-adjusted life years (QALY), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) were estimated for a cohort of patients with acute cerebral ischemia and no contraindication to oral anticoagulation. A Markov model was developed to simulate the long-term course and progression of cerebral ischemia considering the different diagnostic algorithms (24-h-Holter, 7-d-Holter, 7-d-Holter after preselection by TTE). Clinical data for these algorithms were derived from the prospective observational Find-AF study (ISRCTN 46104198).
Predicted lifelong discounted costs were 33,837 € for patients diagnosed by the 7-d-Holter and 33,852 € by the standard 24-h-Holter. Cumulated QALYs were 3.868 for the 7-d-Holter compared to 3.844 for the 24-h-Holter. The 7-d-Holter dominated the 24-h-Holter in the base-case scenario and remained cost-effective in extensive sensitivity analysis of key input parameter with a maximum of 8,354 €/QALY gained. Preselecting patients for the 7-d-Holter had no positive effect on the cost-effectiveness.
A 7-d-Holter to detect PAF in patients with cerebral ischemia is cost-effective. It increases the detection which leads to improved antithrombotic regimens; therefore, it avoids recurrent strokes, saves future costs, and decreases quality of life impairment. Preselecting patients by TTE does not improve cost-effectiveness.