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Eur J Heart Fail. 2003 Jun;5(3):381-9.

Is multidisciplinary care of heart failure cost-beneficial when combined with optimal medical care?

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Heart Failure Unit, St Vincent's University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin 4, Ireland.



Multidisciplinary care (MDC) of heart failure (HF) can significantly reduce rates of unplanned hospitalisation, the major cost component of HF care.


This prospective, randomised, controlled study examines the cost-benefits of MDC of HF in the setting of optimal medical care.


98 NYHA class IV HF patients (mean age 70.8+/-10.5 years) were randomised to MDC (n=51) or routine care (RC; n=47) of HF. A direct intervention cost was calculated from contact time (scheduled and unscheduled) spent by the MDC team. Unplanned hospitalisation costs for HF were calculated at a daily rate of 242. Outcomes were determined in monetary terms, i.e. the cost of the service per hospitalisation prevented and net costs/savings at 3 months.


The direct intervention cost of the MDC team was 5860, with an average cost per patient of 113 (95% Cl: 97-128). At 3 months, there were a total of 12 unplanned HF readmissions in the RC group (25.5% rate, 195 days) compared to 2 in the MDC group (3.9% rate, 17 days). The number needed to treat to prevent one hospitalisation for HF was 6 over 3 months. The cost of the service per hospitalisation prevented was 586. The intervention produced a net cost saving of 37,216 for 51 patients treated over 3 months. Sensitivity analyses using 50% variation in costs and lower relative risk reductions confirmed the cost-benefits of the intervention.


MDC of HF remains cost-beneficial when combined with optimal, medical care. The significant clinical and cost-benefits suggest that this intensive approach to MDC and medical management should become the standard of care for HF.

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