Introduction: Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a significant disease process that affects an estimated 117 cases per 100,000 person-years. Chronic pulmonary hypertension (CPH) is a long-term complication associated with acute PE which has a significant cost to treat, ranging from $98,000-117,000.
Methods: A retrospective chart review of 341 patients from January 2011 to November 2018 who presented with massive or submassive PE and were treated with either systemic heparin therapy or catheter directed thrombolysis (CDT). The results of the short-term cost analysis and pulmonary hypertension rates from data collected was then used in a long-term cost model using a standardized 100 patient model.
Results: Treatment with CDT resulted in fewer bleeding complications (4.2 percent vs. 13.8 percent, p=0.005), a shorter length of stay, a greater percentage of patients returning to their prior living conditions (89.0 percent vs. 79.3 percent, p=0.042), and a lower rate of chronic pulmonary hypertension at 12 months (6.3 percent vs. 15.9 percent, p=0.030) than those treated with systemic heparin. The expense of treatment utilizing CDT was greater than those undergoing systemic heparin treatment with a difference of approximately $31,000 (p=0.001) though our cost model showed the heparin group to have a higher cost over time.
Conclusions: For patients with massive or submassive PE, this study demonstrated a significant long-term cost savings and improved outcomes for patients treated with catheter directed thrombolysis when compared to systemic heparin administration.
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