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Economic evaluation of the artificial liver support system MARS in patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure

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Author(s): Hessel Franz

Journal: Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation
ISSN 1478-7547

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 16;
Date: 2006;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) is a life threatening acute decompensation of a pre-existing chronic liver disease. The artificial liver support system MARS is a new emerging therapeutic option possible to be implemented in routine care of these patients. The medical efficacy of MARS has been demonstrated in first clinical studies, but economic aspects have so far not been investigated. Objective of this study was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of MARS. Methods In a clinical cohort trial with a prospective follow-up of 3 years 33 ACLF-patients treated with MARS were compared to 46 controls. Survival, health-related quality of life as well as direct medical costs for in- and outpatient treatment from a health care system perspective were determined. Based on the differences in outcome and indirect costs the cost-effectiveness of MARS expressed as incremental costs per life year gained and incremental costs per QALY gained was estimated. Results The average initial intervention costs for MARS were 14600 EUR per patient treated. Direct medical costs over 3 years follow up were overall 40000 EUR per patient treated with MARS respectively 12700 EUR in controls. The 3 year survival rate after MARS was 52% compared to 17% in controls. Kaplan-Meier analysis of cumulated survival probability showed a highly significant difference in favour of MARS. Incremental costs per life-year gained were 31400 EUR; incremental costs per QALY gained were 47200 EUR. Conclusion The results after 3 years follow-up of the first economic evaluation study of MARS based on empirical patient data are presented. Although high initial treatment costs for MARS occur the significantly better survival seen in this study led to reasonable costs per live year gained. Further randomized controlled trials investigating the medical efficacy and the cost-effectiveness are recommended.
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