Cost-effectiveness of a delayed pushing policy for patients with epidural anesthesia
Petrou S., Coyle D., Fraser WD.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to estimate the economic efficiency of a policy of delayed pushing for nulliparous women who have full dilatation while they are under epidural anesthesia. STUDY DESIGN: A cost- effectiveness evaluation was based on a randomized controlled trial. Resource use and clinical effectiveness data were collected for 1862 women who were randomly allocated to either a delayed pushing group (n = 936) or an early pushing group (n = 926). Costs (in 1997 Canadian dollars) were collected for each item of resource use. Sensitivity analysis was used to examine the robustness of the main results. RESULTS: Delayed pushing was effective at reducing the number of difficult deliveries (relative risk, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.66 to 0.95). The mean cost of intrapartum care was significantly higher in the delayed pushing group ($625.86 vs $557.64; P < .0005). There were no significant differences in mean costs of postnatal care ($2146.67 vs $2133.54; P = .871) or total hospital care ($2772.53 vs $2691.18; P = .324). The incremental cost per difficult delivery prevented was estimated at $1743.06. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio remained fairly robust with variations in the values of key parameters incorporated into the sensitivity analysis. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this economic evaluation should inform decision makers determining whether to advocate a policy of delayed pushing for nulliparous women who have full dilatation while they are under epidural anesthesia.