Cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a pilot study of prophylactic negative pressure wound therapy

Christopher Heard, Wendy Chaboyer, Vinah Anderson, Brigid M. Gillespie, Jennifer A. Whitty

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Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is increasingly used prophylactically following surgery despite limited evidence of clinical or cost-effectiveness.

Objective: To evaluate whether NPWT is cost-effective compared to standard care, for the prevention of surgical site infection (SSI) in obese women undergoing elective caesarean section, and inform development of a larger trial.

Methods: An economic evaluation was conducted alongside a pilot randomised controlled trial at one Australian hospital, in which women were randomised to NPWT (n = 44) or standard care (n = 43). A public health care provider perspective and time horizon to four weeks post-discharge was adopted. Cost-effectiveness assessment was based on incremental cost per SSI prevented and per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained.

Results: Patients receiving NPWT each received health care costing AU$5887 (±1038) and reported 0.069 (±0.010) QALYs compared to AU$5754 (±1484) and 0.066 (±0.010) QALYs for patients receiving standard care. NPWT may be slightly more costly and more effective than standard care, with estimated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) of AU$1347 (95%CI dominant- $41,873) per SSI prevented and AU$42,340 (95%CI dominant- $884,019) per QALY gained. However, there was considerable uncertainty around these estimates.

Conclusions: NPWT may be cost-effective in the prophylactic treatment of surgical wounds following elective caesarean section in obese women. Larger trials could clarify the cost-effectiveness of NPWT as a prophylactic treatment for SSI. Sensitive capture of QALYs and cost offsets will be important given the high level of uncertainty around the point estimate cost-effectiveness ratio which was close to conventional thresholds.

Australian and New Zealand trial registration number: ACTRN12612000171819.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79–84
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Tissue Viability
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

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