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Determinants of the relationship between cost and survival time after elective adult cardiac surgery

Department of Intensive Care, Royal Perth Hospital and School of Population Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia

Summary

Cardiac surgery is increasingly performed on elderly patients with multiple comorbid conditions, but the determinants of the relationship between cost and survival time after cardiac surgery for patients with a serious cardiac condition remain uncertain. Using the long-term outcome data of a cohort study on adult cardiac surgical patients, the relationship between cost and survival time after cardiac surgery from a hospital service perspective was determined. The total cost for each patient was estimated by the costs of the surgical procedures, intra-aortic balloon pump utilisation, operating theatre utilisation, blood products, intensive care unit stay and cumulative hospital stay up to a median follow-up time of 30 months. Of the 2131 patients considered in this study, a total cost >A$100,000 per life-year after cardiac surgery was observed only in 171 patients (8.0%, 95% confidence interval 6.9 to 9.3%). Age, Charlson Comorbidity Index and EuroSCORE were all related to the cost per life-year after cardiac surgery, but EuroSCORE (odds ratio 1.26 per score increment, 95% confidence interval 1.18 to 1.35, P=0.001) was, by far, the most important determinant and explained 32% of the variability in cost per life-year after cardiac surgery. Patients with a high EuroSCORE were associated with a substantially longer length of intensive care unit stay and cumulative hospital stay, as well as a shorter survival time after cardiac surgery compared to patients with a lower EuroSCORE. Of all the subgroups of patients examined, only patients with a EuroSCORE >5 were consistently associated with a cost >A$100,000 per life-year (cost per life-year $183,148, 95% confidence interval 125, 394 to 240, 902).

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