Background: Indications for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation therapy have expanded to include cardiopulmonary arrest and support after congenital heart surgery. Data from a national registry have reported that cardiac patients have the poorest survival of all extracorporeal membrane oxygenation recipients. Concerns have been raised about the appropriateness of such an aggressive strategy, especially in light of the high costs and potential for long-term neurologic disability. We reviewed our experience with salvage cardiac extracorporeal membrane oxygenation to determine the cost-utility, which accounts for both costs and quality of life. Methods: Medical records of patients with congenital heart disease receiving salvage cardiac extracorporeal membrane oxygenation between January 2000 and May 2004 were reviewed. Charges for all medical care after the institution of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation were determined and converted to costs by published standards. The quality-of-life status of survivors was determined with the Health Utilities Index Mark II. Results: Salvage cardiac extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was instituted in 32 patients (18 for cardiopulmonary arrest and 14 for cardiac failure after heart surgery) at a median age of 2.0 months (range, 4 days to 5.1 years). Congenital heart disease was present in 27 (84%). The mean duration of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support was 5.1 ± 4.1 days. Survival to hospital discharge was 50%, including 1 patient bridged to heart transplantation. Survival to 1 year was 47%. The mean score of the Health Utilities Index for the survivors was 0.75 ± 0.19 (range, 0.41-1.0). The median cost for hospital stay after the institution of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was $156,324 per patient. The calculated cost-utility for salvage extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in this population was $24,386 per quality-adjusted life-year saved, which would be considered within the range of accepted cost-efficacy (<$50,000 per quality-adjusted life-year saved). Conclusions: Salvage cardiac extracorporeal membrane oxygenation results in reasonable survival and is justified on a cost-utility basis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine