Background: Economic evaluation is an important tool in the evaluation of competing healthcare interventions. Little is known about the economic benefits of different cardiac rehabilitation program delivery models.
Design: The goal of this study was to review and evaluate the methodological quality of published economic evaluations of cardiac rehabilitation services.
Methods: Electronic databases were searched for English language evaluations (trials, modeling studies) of the economic impact of cardiac rehabilitation. A review of study characteristics and methodological quality was completed using standardized tools. All costs are adjusted to 2004 US dollars.
Results: Fifteen economic evaluations were identified which met eligibility criteria but which displayed wide variation in the use of comparators, evaluation type, perspective and design. Evidence to support the cost-effectiveness of supervised cardiac rehabilitation in myocardial infarction and heart failure patients was identified. The range of cost per life year gained was estimated as from 2193 dollars to 28,193 dollars and from - 668 dollars to 16,118 dollars per quality adjusted life year gained. The level of evidence supporting the economic value of home-based cardiac rehabilitation interventions is limited to partial economic analyses.
Conclusions: Evidence to support the cost-effectiveness of supervised cardiac rehabilitation compared with usual care in myocardial infarction and heart failure was identified. Further trials are required to support the cost-effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation in cardiac patients who have under gone revascularization. The literature evaluating home-based and alternative delivery models of cardiac rehabilitation was insufficient to draw conclusions about their relative cost-effectiveness. The overall quality of published economic evaluations of cardiac rehabilitation is poor and further well-designed trials are required.