Medline ® Abstract for Reference 4
of 'Decision analysis'
Cost effectiveness of thrombolytic therapy with streptokinase in elderly patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction.
Krumholz HM, Pasternak RC, Weinstein MC, Friesinger GC, Ridker PM, Tosteson AN, Goldman L
N Engl J Med. 1992;327(1):7.
BACKGROUND: There is a lack of consensus among cardiologists about the potential benefit of thrombolytic therapy for suspected acute myocardial infarction in older patients. To investigate this issue, we constructed a decision-analytic model for patients 75 years of age or older who present with ST-segment elevation within six hours of the onset of symptoms suggesting acute myocardial infarction.
METHODS: The variables incorporated in this model were the probability that the patient has an acute myocardial infarction, the probability of in-hospital death among patients with acute myocardial infarction who do not receive thrombolytic therapy, the probability of a fatal or incapacitating complication resulting from thrombolytic therapy, and the expected relative reduction in the risk of death associated with thrombolytic therapy in patients with acute myocardial infarction. Our analyses were based primarily on the use of streptokinase as the thrombolytic agent.
RESULTS: Given our base-line assumptions, the probability of dying in the hospital was 21.4 percent if thrombolytic therapy was given and 24.4 percent if it was not given. In one-way sensitivity analyses, thrombolytic therapy decreased the risk of dying if the probability that the patient had an acute myocardial infarction was assumed to be greater than 9 percent, if the probability of dying in the hospital after an acute myocardial infarction without thrombolytic therapy was assumed to be greater than 3 percent, if the rate of fatal or incapacitating complications due to thrombolytic therapy was assumed to be 4 percent or less, or if the relative reduction in the risk of death associated with thrombolytic therapy was assumed to be greater than 1 percent. On the basis of our base-line assumptions, our estimate of the cost effectiveness of streptokinase therapy (the cost per year of life saved) for an 80-year-old patient with suspected acute myocardial infarction was $21,200. For a wide range of assumptions about risks, benefits, and costs, the cost per year of life saved remained less than $55,000.
CONCLUSIONS: Within the limitations imposed by the assumptions used in our analysis, thrombolytic therapy with streptokinase was found to be a beneficial and cost-effective treatment for suspected acute myocardial infarction in elderly patients in a wide variety of clinical circumstances.
Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston.