Indexed on: 08 Jul '14Published on: 08 Jul '14Published in: Canadian Journal of Cardiology
In 2011, health care spending in Canada accounted for 11.2% of gross domestic product. Increased life expectancy, combined with the fact that new medical technologies generally tend to improve clinical results at an increased cost, are leading developed nations to devote rising amounts of financial resources to health care. Valvular heart disease is an example of an age-related health problem with rising prevalence that has recently seen an emergence of new catheter-based technologies, which are rapidly changing the treatment landscape. This article reviews the current literature on the health economics of catheter-based valve therapies. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a less invasive approach to valve replacement, is currently approved in the United States, Canada, and Europe for 2 groups of patients: those with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis who are unsuitable for surgery and those who are suitable but are at high risk for surgery. TAVR, when compared with medical therapy, results in significant improvement in survival for inoperable patients, with incremental costs that are generally considered to be acceptable in most western nations. However, in high-risk surgical candidates, TAVR has shown similar survival rates when compared with surgical aortic valve replacement, with only short-term advantages in quality of life. Cost-effectiveness ratios in this population have varied widely based on differing estimates of incremental costs. Information regarding the health economics of transcatheter mitral valve therapies is still quite preliminary and limited to the MitraClip (Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL). Ongoing trials should provide additional information about the health economics of this new technology.