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Objective To systematically identify and appraise existing evidence surrounding economic aspects of anticoagulation service interventions for patients with atrial fibrillation. Methods We searched the published and grey literature up to October 2019 to identify relevant economic evidence in any health care setting. A narrative-synthesis approach was taken to summarise evidence by economic design and type of service intervention, with costs expressed in pound sterling and valued at 2017 to 2018 prices. Results A total of 13 studies met our inclusion criteria from 1,168 papers originally identified. Categories of interventions included anticoagulation clinics (n = 4), complex interventions (n = 4), decision support tools (n = 3) and patient-centred approaches (n = 2). Anticoagulation clinics were cost-saving compared with usual care (range for mean cost difference: £188-£691 per-patient per-year) with equivalent health outcomes. Only one economic evaluation of a complex intervention was conducted; case management was more expensive than usual care (mean cost difference: £255 per-patient per-year) and the probability of its cost-effectiveness did not exceed 70%. There was limited economic evidence surrounding decision support tools or patient-centred approaches. Targeting service interventions at high-risk groups and those with suboptimal treatment was most likely to result in cost savings. Conclusion This review revealed some evidence to support the cost-effectiveness of anticoagulation clinics. However, summative conclusions are constrained by a paucity of economic evidence, a lack of direct comparisons between interventions, and study heterogeneity in terms of intervention, comparator and study year. Further research is urgently needed to inform commissioning and service development. Data from this review can inform future economic evaluations of anticoagulation service interventions.

Original publication




Journal article


Thrombosis and Haemostasis

Publication Date