Background: In infants with ductal-dependent pulmonary blood flow, initial palliation with patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) stent or modified Blalock-Taussig (BT) shunt have comparable mortality but discrepant length of stay, procedural complication rates and reintervention burdens, which may influence cost. The relative economic impact of these palliation strategies is unknown.
Methods and results: Retrospective study of infants with ductal-dependent pulmonary blood flow palliated with PDA stent (n=104) or BT shunt (n=251) from 2008 to 2015 at 4 centers of the Congenital Catheterization Research Collaborative. Inflation-adjusted inpatient hospital costs were calculated for first year of life using Pediatric Health Information System data. Costs derived from outpatient catheterizations not in Pediatric Health Information System were imputed. Costs were compared using propensity score-adjusted multivariable models, to account for baseline differences between groups. After propensity score adjustment, first year of life costs were significantly lower in PDA stent ($215 825 [190 644-244 333]) than BT shunt ($249 855 [230 693-270 609]) patients ( P=0.05). After addition of imputed costs, first year of life costs were not significantly different between PDA stent ($226 403 [200 274-255 941]) and BT shunt ($252 072 [232 955-272 759]) groups ( P=0.15). Patient characteristics associated with higher costs included: younger gestational age, genetic syndrome, noncardiac diagnoses, procedural complications, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, duration of ventilation, intensive care unit and hospital length of stay and reintervention ( P≤0.02 for all).
Conclusions: In this first multicenter comparative cost study of PDA stent or BT shunt as palliation for infants with ductal-dependent pulmonary blood flow, adjusted for baseline differences, PDA stent was associated with lower to equivalent costs over the first year of life. Combined with previous evidence suggesting clinical noninferiority, these findings suggest that PDA stent provides competitive health care value.
Keywords: catheterization; cost analysis; ductus arteriosus; intensive care unit; length of stay; stents.