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Value Health. 2011 Jan;14(1):24-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2010.10.025.

Cost-effectiveness of bivalirudin versus heparin plus glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor in the treatment of non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes.

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Institute of Pharmaceutical Medicine, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.



This study sought to assess the cost-effectiveness of bivalirudin versus heparin plus glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor (GPI) in thienopyridine-treated non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTE-ACS) patients undergoing early or urgent invasive management, from a United Kingdom National Health Service perspective.


A decision-analytic model with lifelong time horizon was populated with event risks and resource use parameters derived from the Acute Catheterization and Urgent Intervention Triage Strategy (ACUITY) trial raw data. In a parallel analysis, key comparator strategy inputs came from Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events (GRACE) patients enrolled in the United Kingdom. Upstream and catheter laboratory-initiated GPI were assumed to be tirofiban and abciximab, respectively. Life expectancy of first-year survivors, unit costs, and health-state utilities came from United Kingdom sources. Costs and effects were discounted at 3.5%. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were expressed as cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained.


Higher acquisition costs for bivalirudin were partially offset by lower hospitalization and bleeding costs. In the ACUITY-based analysis, per-patient lifetime costs in the bivalirudin and heparin plus GPI strategies were £10,903 and £10,653, respectively. Patients survived 10.87 and 10.82 years on average, corresponding to 5.96 and 5.93 QALYs and resulting in an ICER of £9,906 per QALY gained. The GRACE-based ICER was £12,276 per QALY gained. In probabilistic sensitivity analysis, 72.1% and 67.0% of simulation results were more cost-effective than £20,000 per QALY gained, in the ACUITY-based and GRACE-based analyses, respectively. Additional scenario analyses implied that greater cost-effectiveness may be achieved in actual clinical practice.


Treating NSTE-ACS patients undergoing invasive management with bivalirudin is likely to represent a cost-effective option for the United Kingdom, when compared with the current practice of using heparin and a GPI.

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