Catheter ablation may be cost-effective as second-line thera
A new cost-utility analysis has shown that catheter ablation as a second-line intervention is likely cost-effective for patients with HF and symptomatic atrial fibrillation.

Recent trials comparing catheter ablation to medical therapy in patients with heart failure (HF) with symptomatic atrial fibrillation despite first-line management have demonstrated a reduction in adverse outcomes. Researchers performed an economic evaluation to estimate the cost-utility of catheter ablation as second line therapy in patients with HF with reduced ejection fraction.

A Markov model with health states of alive, dead, and alive with amiodarone toxicity was constructed, using the perspective of the Canadian healthcare payer. Patients in the alive states were at risk of HF and non-HF hospitalizations. Parameters were obtained from randomized trials and Alberta health system data for costs and outcomes. A lifetime time horizon was adopted, with discounting at 3.0% annually. Probabilistic and 1 way sensitivity analyses were performed. Costs are reported in 2018 Canadian dollars.

A patient treated with catheter ablation experienced lifetime costs of $64 960 and 5.63 quality-adjusted life-years (QALY), compared with $49 865 and 5.18 QALYs for medical treatment. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was $35 360/QALY, with a 90% chance of being cost-effective at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $50 000/QALY. A minimum mortality reduction of 28%, or a minimum duration of benefit of more than 1 to 2 years was required for catheter ablation to be attractive at this threshold.

Conclusively, Catheter ablation is likely to be cost-effective as a second line intervention for patients with HF with symptomatic atrial fibrillation, with incremental cost-effectiveness ratio $35 360/QALY, as long as over half of the relative mortality benefit observed in extant trials is borne out in future studies.