Cost-effectiveness of thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction

Paul A. Castillo, Cynthia S. Palmer, Michael T. Halpern, Evi J. Hatziandreu, Bernard J. Gersh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of thrombolytic therapy versus no thrombolytic therapy for patients following acute myocardial infarction, focusing on the impact of time to treatment on outcome. METHODS: A decision model was developed to assess the benefits, risks, and costs associated with thrombolytic therapy for treatment of acute myocardial infarction compared with standard nonthrombolytic therapy. The model used pooled data from a recent study of nine large randomized, controlled clinical trials and 12-month outcome data from a recently published meta-analysis of thrombolytic therapy trial data. Outcomes were expressed in terms of survival to hospital discharge and survival to 1 year after discharge. The risks of treatment that led to death, morbidity, or added costs were estimated. The model determined excess and marginal costs per death averted to hospital discharge and at 1 year. Results were also estimated in terms of cost per year of life saved. Sensitivity analyses included variations in time to treatment and drug cost. RESULTS: The marginal cost of thrombolytic therapy per death averted at 1 year was $222 344, or $14 438 per year of life saved. For patients treated within b hours of acute myocardial infarction, the marginal cost per death averted was $181 536 at 1 year, or $ 11 788 per year of life saved. CONCLUSIONS: Thrombolytic therapy is significantly more cost effective than many other cardiovascular interventions and compares favorably with other forms of medical therapy. Results suggest that shortening the time to treatment has a critical impact on the cost effectiveness of thrombolytic therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-603
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997


  • cost-effectiveness
  • myocardial infarction
  • thrombolytics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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