Objective The treatment of critical limb ischemia (CLI), with the intention to prevent limb loss, is often an intensive and expensive therapy. The aim of this study was to examine the cost-effectiveness of endovascular and conservative treatment of elderly CLI patients unsuitable for surgery.

Methods In this prospective observational cohort study, data were gathered in two Dutch peripheral hospitals. CLI patients aged 70 years or older were included in the outpatient clinic. Exclusion criteria were malignant disease, lack of language skills, and cognitive impairment; 195 patients were included and 192 patients were excluded. After a multidisciplinary vascular conference, patients were divided into three treatment groups (endovascular revascularization, surgical revascularization, or conservative therapy). Subanalyses based on age were made (70-79 years and ≥80 years). The follow-up period was 2 years. Cost-effectiveness of endovascular and conservative treatment was quantified using incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) in euros per quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).

Results At baseline, patients allocated to surgical revascularization had better health states, but the health states of endovascular revascularization and conservative therapy patients were comparable. With an ICER of €38,247.41/QALY (∼$50,869/QALY), endovascular revascularization was cost-effective compared with conservative therapy. This is favorable compared with the Dutch applicable threshold of €80,000/QALY (∼$106,400/QALY). The subanalyses also established that endovascular revascularization is a cost-effective alternative for conservative treatment both in patients aged 70 to 79 years (ICER €29,898.36/QALY; ∼$39,765/QALY) and in octogenarians (ICER €56,810.14/QALY; ∼$75,557/QALY).

Conclusions Our study has shown that endovascular revascularization is cost-effective compared with conservative treatment of CLI patients older than 70 years and also in octogenarians. Given the small absolute differences in costs and effects, physicians should also consider individual circumstances that can alter the outcome of the intervention. Cost-effectiveness remains one of the aspects to take into consideration in making a clinical decision.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Critical limb ischemia, Frail elderly, Costs, Cost-effectiveness, Quality-adjusted life-years
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2018.11.042, hdl.handle.net/1765/118956
Journal Journal of Vascular Surgery
Citation
Peters, C.M.L., Bolt-de Vries, J, Redeker, S., Timman, R, van Eijck, G.J., Steunenberg, S.L., … van der Laan, L.J.W. (2019). Cost-effectiveness of the treatments for critical limb ischemia in the elderly population. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 70(2), 530–53+. doi:10.1016/j.jvs.2018.11.042