Anticoagulation guidelines for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) disregard AF burden. A strategy of targeted anticoagulation with novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) based on continuous rhythm assessment with an implantable cardiac monitor (ICM) has recently been explored. We evaluated the potential cost-effectiveness of this strategy versus projected outcomes with continuous anticoagulation.Methods and Results:
We developed a Markov model using data from the Rhythm Evaluation for AntiCoagulaTion With COntinuous Monitoring (REACT.COM) pilot study (N = 59) and prior NOAC trials to calculate the costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) associated with ICM-guided intermittent anticoagulation for AF versus standard care during a 3-year time horizon. Health state utilities were estimated from the pilot study population using the SF-12. Costs were based on current Medicare reimbursement. Over 14 ± 4 months of follow-up, 18 of 59 patients had 35 AF episodes. The ICM-guided strategy resulted in a 94% reduction in anticoagulant use relative to continuous treatment. There were no strokes, 3 (5.1%) TIAs, 2 major bleeding events (on aspirin) and 3 minor bleeding events with the ICM-guided strategy. The projected total 3-year costs were $12,535 for the ICM-guided strategy versus $13,340 for continuous anticoagulation. Projected QALYs were 2.45 for both groups.Conclusion:
Based on a pilot study, a strategy of ICM-guided anticoagulation with NOACs may be cost-saving relative to expected outcomes with continuous anticoagulation, with similar quality-adjusted survival. This strategy could be attractive from a health economic perspective if shown to be safe and effective in a rigorous clinical trial.