Aims: The aim of the present analysis was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of intense insulin treatment after acute myocardial infarction in patients with diabetes mellitus based on the results of the Diabetes Mellitus Insulin Glucose Infusion in Acute Myocardial Infarction (DIGAMI) study. In this study 620 patients with diabetes mellitus and acute myocardial infarction were randomized to intense insulin treatment (insulin group) or to serve as controls given standard antidiabetic therapy. Mortality was significantly reduced in the insulin group.
Methods and results: The cost-effectiveness ratio was estimated as the incremental cost per life-year and quality-adjusted life-year gained of intense insulin treatment. The incremental costs were estimated as the difference in health care costs and indirect costs (labour production) during the first year of follow-up plus the future costs of increased survival. The life-years gained were based on the 5-year long-term follow-up experience and an assumed annual 20% mortality risk for all patients thereafter. The health care costs were Euro 975 higher in the insulin group during the first year of follow-up, mainly due to a longer period of initial hospitalization related to the institution of multidose insulin. The estimated discounted gain in life-years of the insulin treatment was 0.94 years without and 0.66 with quality of life adjustment, respectively. The cost per life-year gained by intense insulin treatment was Euro 16 900 and the cost per quality-adjusted life-year gained was Euro 24 100. Thus the estimated cost-effectiveness ratios were relatively low.
Conclusion: The results of the DIGAMI study indicate that intense insulin treatment after an acute myocardial infarction in patients with diabetes mellitus has an acceptable level of cost-effectiveness.