Objectives: This study sought to assess the cost-effectiveness of captopril therapy for survivors of myocardial infarction.
Background: The recent randomized, controlled Survival and Ventricular Enlargement (SAVE) trial showed that captopril therapy improves survival in survivors of myocardial infarction with an ejection fraction < or = 40%. The present ancillary study was designed to determine how the costs required to achieve this increase in survival compared with those of other medical interventions.
Methods: We developed a decision-analytic model to assess the cost-effectiveness of captopril therapy in 50- to 80-year old survivors of myocardial infarction with an ejection fraction < or = 40%. Data on costs, utilities (health-related quality of life weights) and 4-year survival were obtained directly from the SAVE trial, and long-term survival was estimated using a Markov model. In one set of analyses, we assumed that the survival benefit associated with captopril therapy would persist beyond 4 years (persistent-benefit analyses), whereas in another set we assumed that captopril therapy incurred costs but no survival benefit beyond 4 years (limited-benefit analyses).
Results: In the limited-benefit analyses, the incremental cost-effectiveness of captopril therapy ranged from $3,600/quality-adjusted life-year for 80-year old patients to $60,800/quality-adjusted life-year for 50-year old patients. In the persistent-benefit analyses, incremental cost-effectiveness ratios ranged from $3,700 to $10,400/quality-adjusted life-year, depending on age. The outcome was generally not sensitive to changes in estimates of variables when they were varied individually over wide ranges. In a "worst-case" analysis, incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for captopril therapy remained favorable ($8,700 to $29,200/quality-adjusted life-year) for 60- to 80-year old patients but were higher ($217,600/quality-adjusted life-year) for 50-year old patients.
Conclusions: We conclude that the cost-effectiveness of captopril therapy for 50- to 80-year old survivors of myocardial infarction with a low ejection fraction compares favorably with other interventions for survivors of myocardial infarction.