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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1998 Jul;17(7):587-93.

Costs and benefits of respiratory syncytial virus immunoglobulin to prevent hospitalization for lower respiratory tract illness in very low birth weight infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.



Respiratory syncytial virus immunoglobulin intravenous (RSV-IGIV) has been shown to reduce the risk of lower respiratory illness (LRI) hospitalization in preterm infants and infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). The purpose of this analysis was to estimate the economic costs and benefits of prophylaxis with RSV-IGIV in these groups.


The analysis was performed from a payer's perspective and therefore included only costs and cost savings that would be realized by an insurer. Estimates of the direct costs of prophylaxis and the risk and cost of LRI hospitalization were based on data about preterm very low birth weight infants cared for at our medical center. Estimates of the reduction in risk of LRI hospitalization associated with RSV-IGIV were based on data from a randomized trial (the PREVENT Study).


The range of cost for a five-dose course of RSV-IGIV was estimated to be $3280 to $8800 for infants weighing 1.2 to 10.0 kg at the time of the initial dose. Risks of LRI hospitalization were estimated to be 12, 17 and 28%, respectively, for preterm infants without BPD, with mild BPD and with moderate to severe BPD. Estimates of duration and per diem cost of LRI hospitalizations were, respectively, 5 days and $971. The estimated net cost of prophylaxis per infant ranged between $5415 for a 6-kg infant without BPD to $1689 for an infant with BPD and age < or =3 months.


The cost of RSV-IGIV typically exceeds the cost of hospitalizations prevented by several thousand dollars. Cost minus benefit is lower for infants with BPD and infants 3 months of age or younger.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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