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Pediatr Transplant. 2019 Dec;23(8):e13576. doi: 10.1111/petr.13576. Epub 2019 Sep 19.

Cost-utility of continuous-flow ventricular assist devices as bridge to transplant in pediatrics.

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Children's Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA.



The initial costs of a CF-VAD exceed those of a PF-VAD. However, the safety profile of CF-VAD is superior and the possibility of outpatient device support may justify the additional initial costs. This study analyzed the cost-utility of CF-VAD use in the pediatric population.


A Markov-state transition model was constructed for the clinical course of the two VAD subtypes from implantation until death with variables extracted from internal financial records and the published literature. The modeled population consisted of pediatric heart failure patients who met indications for VAD implant (INTERMACS profile 1 or 2) and were size-eligible for either a PF-VAD or CF-VAD.


The cost-utility analysis illustrated that CF-VAD is both more effective and less costly compared to PF-VAD at base-case conditions. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that only in extreme conditions did a CF-VAD strategy not meet criteria for cost-effectiveness (if readmission rate >20% weekly, neurologic event rate >8% weekly, or CF-VAD discharge rates <18% in a month) or VAD support duration shortens to ≤12 weeks.


While the implantation costs of a CF-VAD exceed those of a PF-VAD, after 12 weeks of device support CF-VAD becomes the more cost-effective strategy if the anticipated outpatient device care is sufficiently long. The cost efficacy of the CF-VAD will be further heightened as initiatives that result in earlier and safer discharges, as well as reductions in readmission rates continue to be successful.


cost-effectiveness analysis; heart failure; pediatrics; ventricular assist device


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