Cost-Effectiveness of Transfers to Centers With Neurological Intensive Care Units After Intracerebral Hemorrhage

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Background and Purpose—

Our aim was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of transferring patients with intracerebral hemorrhage from centers without specialized neurological intensive care units (neuro-ICUs) to centers with neuro-ICUs.


Decision analytic models were developed for the lifetime horizons. Model inputs were derived from the best available data, informed by a variety of previous cost-effectiveness models of stroke. The effect of neuro-ICU care on functional outcomes was modeled in 3 scenarios. A favorable outcomes scenario was modeled based on the best observational data and compared with moderately favorable and least-favorable outcomes scenarios. Health benefits were measured in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and costs were estimated from a societal perspective. Costs were combined with QALYs gained to generate incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. One-way sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo simulations were performed to test robustness of the model assumptions.


Transferring patients to centers with neuro-ICUs yielded an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for the lifetime horizon of $47 431 per QALY, $91 674 per QALY, and $380 358 per QALY for favorable, moderately favorable, and least-favorable scenarios, respectively. Models were robust at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100 000 per QALY, with 95.5%, 75.0%, and 2.1% of simulations below the threshold for favorable, moderately favorable, and least-favorable scenarios, respectively.


Transferring patients with intracerebral hemorrhage to centers with specialized neuro-ICUs is cost-effective if observational estimates of the neuro-ICU–based functional outcome distribution are accurate. If future work confirms these functional outcome distributions, then a strong societal rationale exists to build systems of care designed to transfer intracerebral hemorrhage patients to specialized neuro-ICUs.

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