Pre-operative optimisation employing dopexamine or adrenaline for patients undergoing major elective surgery: a cost-effectiveness analysis

E. Fenwick, J. Wilson, M. Sculpher, K. Claxton

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Objective: To compare the cost and cost-effectiveness of a policy of pre-operative optimisation of oxygen delivery (using either adrenaline or dopexamine) to reduce the risk associated with major elective surgery, in high-risk patients. Methods: A cost-effectiveness analysis using data from a randomised controlled trial (RCT). In the RCT 138 patients undergoing major elective surgery were allocated to receive Pre-operative optimisation employing either adrenaline or dopex-amine (assigned randomly), or to receive routine peri-operative care. Differential health service costs were based on trial data on the number and cause of hospital in-patient days and the utilisation of health care resources. These were costed using unit costs from a UK hospital. The cost-effectiveness analysis related differential costs to differential life-years during a 2year trial follow-up. Results: The mean number of inpapatient days was 16 in the preoptimised groups (19 adrenaline; 13 dopexamine) and 22 in the standard care group. The number (%) of deaths, over a 2year follow-up, was 24 (26%) in the pre-optimised groups and 15 (33%) in the standard care group. The mean total costs were EUR 11,310 in the pre-optimised groups and EUR 16,965 in the standard care group. Life-years were 1.68 in the pre-optimised groups and 1.46 in the standard care group. The probability that pre-operative optimisation is less costly than standard care is 98%. The probability that it dominates standard care is 93%. Conclusions: Based on resource use and effectiveness data collected in the trial, pre-operative optimisation of high-risk surgical patients undergoing major elective surgery is cost-effective compared with standard treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-608
Number of pages10
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2002


  • resource use
  • cost
  • survival
  • cost-effectiveness
  • intensive care
  • pre-operative care methods

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