© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Objectives: The economic crisis in Europe might have limited access to some innovative technologies implying an increase of waiting time. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the impact of waiting time on the costs and benefits of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for the treatment of severe aortic stenosis. Methods: This is a cost-utility analysis from the perspective of the Spanish National Health Service. Results of two prospective hospital registries (158 and 273 consecutive patients) were incorporated into a probabilistic Markov model to compare quality adjusted life years (QALYs) and costs for TAVR after waiting for 3–12 months, relative to immediate TAVR. We simulated a cohort of 1000 patients, male, and 80 years old; other patient profiles were assessed in sensitivity analyses. Results: As waiting time increased, costs decreased at the expense of lower survival and loss of QALYs, leading to incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for eliminating waiting lists of about 12,500 € per QALY. In subgroup analyses prioritization of patients for whom higher benefit was expected led to a smaller loss of QALYs. Concerning budget impact, long waiting lists reduced spending considerably and permanently. Conclusions: A shorter waiting time is likely to be cost-effective (considering commonly accepted willingness-to-pay thresholds in Europe) relative to 3 months or longer waiting periods. If waiting lists are nevertheless seen as unavoidable due to severe but temporary budgetary restrictions, prioritizing patients for whom higher benefit is expected appears to be a way of postponing spending without utterly sacrificing patients’ survival and quality of life.
- Aortic stenosis
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement
- Waiting lists