The Valsartan Heart Failure Trial (Val-HeFT) compared valsartan versus placebo in 5010 patients taking prescribed background therapy for New York Heart Association class II to IV heart failure. Valsartan reduced the risk of heart failure hospitalization and improved clinical signs and symptoms of heart failure. We sought to compare resource use, costs, and health outcomes among patients taking prescribed therapy for heart failure and randomly assigned to receive valsartan or placebo.Methods
Measures of resource use were based on data collected during the trial. Unit cost estimates were collected from individual countries and converted to 1999 US dollars. Total costs were estimated for hospitalizations, inpatient and outpatient physician services, ambulance transportation, deaths outside the hospital, and outpatient cardiovascular medications.Results
Mean follow-up was 23 months. Mean costs for heart failure hospitalizations were $423 lower among patients receiving valsartan (95% CI, −706 to −146). Mean total costs were $9008 for patients receiving valsartan and $8464 for patients receiving placebo, a net incremental cost of $545 (95% CI, −149 to 1148), including the cost of valsartan. There was an overall reduction in total costs of $929 (95% CI, −3243 to 1533) among patients not receiving an ACE inhibitor at baseline but a slight increase in costs of $334 (95% CI, −497 to 1199) among those receiving an ACE inhibitor without a β-blocker and a $1246 increase (95% CI, 54 to 2230) in patients receiving both an ACE inhibitor and a β-blocker at baseline.Conclusions
Valsartan provided clinical benefits at a mean incremental cost of $285 per year during the trial. In patients not taking ACE inhibitors, valsartan was economically attractive, increasing survival while reducing or marginally increasing overall costs.