Our objective was to perform an economic evaluation of an N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP)-supported diagnostic strategy in dyspneic patients suspected of acute heart failure in the emergency department (ED). A decision-tree model was developed to evaluate clinical outcomes and costs for NT-proBNP-supported assessment compared with clinical assessment alone over 6 months from the United States (US) Medicare perspective. The model considered rule-in/rule-out cutoffs identified in the ICON and ICON-RELOADED studies. Acute heart failure prevalence, diagnostic accuracies, and medical resource use conditional on disease status and test results were derived from ICON-RELOADED. Several assumptions based on previous studies of NT-proBNP acute dyspnea and verified with clinicians were applied to medical resource use and assessed in sensitivity analyses. Compared with clinical assessment alone, NT-proBNP-supported assessment improved overall probability of correct diagnosis by a relative 7% (18% for true-positive and 5% for true-negative). This led to relative reductions in medical resource use in ED and hospital, including fewer initial hospitalizations (-14%), required echocardiograms (-31%), cardiology admissions (-16%), intensive care unit admissions (-12%), ED readmissions (-3%), and hospital readmissions (-22%). NT-proBNP use decreased average inpatient management costs by a relative 10%, yielding cost savings of US$2,337 per patient ED visit. These findings were robust in sensitivity analyses. In conclusion, based on a contemporary trial of patients with acute dyspnea, this analysis reaffirmed that using NT-proBNP as a diagnostic tool may improve the management of patients with dyspnea presenting to EDs and is likely to be cost-saving from the US Medicare perspective.
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