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Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) represents a significant economic burden to the healthcare system. Catheter ablation is a commonly adopted treatments for PAF, and cryoballoon ablation (CBA) has been recently proven to be as effective as radiofrequency ablation (RFA). This study aims to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of CBA versus RFA in patients with drug-refractory PAF in China.
A Markov model was developed to study the effects and the costs of CBA versus RFA. Cost and probability inputs data were obtained mainly from a real-world study of 85 CBA and 284 RFA patients treated in a tertiary hospital between July 2014 and July 2016. Propensity score matching was used to overcome retrospective bias, resulting in including 75 patients in each group. Input data gaps were closed with literature review and advisory board. A simulation was carried out for 14 cycles/years, and a discount rate of 3 percent was used. Then, a probabilistic sensitivity analysis was carried out with Monte Carlo approach.
In the base case scenario, the cumulative costs incurred by the CBA and RFA groups were CNY 132,222 (USD 20,767) and CNY 147,304 (USD 23,136), respectively. Over the 14-year period, the quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained by the CBA group was 7.85 versus 7.71 in the RFA group. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for CBA versus RFA was thus CNY 107,729 (USD 16,920)/QALY. Model results were most sensitive to the cost incurred during the first hospitalization, recurrence rate, and relative utility weights. The probability of CBA being cost-effective for willingness to pay thresholds of per capita GDP in China was estimated to be 99 percent.
Compared with RFA, CBA is a cost-saving treatment providing increased QALYs. It represents good value for money for patients with drug-refractory PAF in China. However, further evidence needs to be generated from larger-scale studies in China.
Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is a new effective treatment for atrial fibrillation (AF) (1). The standard of care for ablation methods using radiofrequency (RF) is time-consuming and technically challenging (2), and restricted to a few specialized centers, which causes the limited availability of ablation therapy (3). Therefore, cryoballoon (CB) ablation has been developed to shorten and simplify the procedure. The objective of this systematic literature review and meta-analysis was to compare the effectiveness of cryoballoon ablation (CBA) with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for the treatment of AF.
We searched the Cochrane Library and PubMed from 2009 to October 2016 to screen the eligible literature according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The effectiveness measures were the acute pulmonary vein (PV) isolation rate, procedure time, complications and the proportion of patients free from AF (follow-up > 3 months). Meta-analysis and descriptive statistics were used in this study.
A total of seventeen articles with 5,806 cases (2,288 from CBA group, 3,518 from RFA group) from seven different countries were reviewed and analyzed. Pooled analyses indicated that CBA was more beneficial in terms of procedural time (Standard mean difference, SMD = -.501; 95%CI: -.893– -.109; P<.05) for RFA; but the acute PV isolation rate (Odds ratio, OR = .06; 95 percent Confidence Interval, CI: .03–.13; P < .05) in RFA was higher than for CBA; also, after median follow-up of 14 months (range 9–28 months), the proportion of patients free from AF (OR = .965; 95 percent CI:.859—1.085; P = .554) and the total complication rates (OR = .937; 95 percent CI:.753–1.167; P = .562) were not significantly different between CBA and RFA.
In the four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of the seventeen studies, the proportion of patients free from AF (OR = .951; 95 percent CI:.752–1.202; P = .672) and the complications (OR = 1.521; 95 percent CI:.570–4.058; P = .402) were not significantly different between CBA and RFA.
Overall, compared with RFA for the treatment of patients with AF, CBA had similar clinical effectiveness on the proportion of people free from AF and the number of complications, and yet greater improvement in total procedure time referred for CBA and higher acute PVI rate referred for RFA.
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