Background and Purpose- In the United Kingdom, mechanical thrombectomy (MT) for acute ischemic stroke patients assessed beyond 6 hours from symptom onset will be commissioned up to 12 hours provided that advanced imaging (AdvImg) demonstrates salvageable brain tissue. While the accuracy of AdvImg differs across technologies, evidence is limited regarding the proportion of patients who would benefit from late MT. We compared the cost-effectiveness of 2 care pathways: (1) MT within and beyond 6 hours based on AdvImg selection versus (2) MT only within 6 hours based on conventional imaging selection. The impact of varying AdvImg accuracy and prior probability for acute ischemic stroke patients to benefit from late MT was assessed. Methods- A decision tree and a Markov trace were developed. A hypothetical United Kingdom cohort of suspected stroke patients aged 71 years with first event was modeled. Costs, health outcomes, and probabilities were obtained from the literature. Outcomes included costs, life years (LYs), quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed. Various scenarios with prior probabilities of 10%, 20%, and 30%, respectively, for acute ischemic stroke patients to benefit from late MT, and with perfect accuracy, 80% sensitivity, and 70% specificity of AdvImg were studied. Results- Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios resulting from our deterministic analyses varied from $8199 (£6164) to $49 515 (£37 229) per QALY gained. AdvImg accuracy impacted the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio only when its specificity decreased. Over lifetime horizons, all scenarios including late MT improved QALYs and LYs. Depending on the scenario, the probabilistic sensitivity analyses showed probabilities varying between 46% and 93% for the late MT pathway to be cost-effective at a willingness to pay threshold of $39 900 (£30 000) per QALY. Conclusions- Late MT based on AdvImg selection may be good value for money. However, additional data regarding the implementation of AdvImg and prior probability to benefit from late MT are needed before its cost-effectiveness can be fully assessed.
Keywords: United Kingdom; advanced imaging; cost-effectiveness; stroke; thrombectomy.