Objective: To compare the cost-effectiveness of 2 common “noninvasive” modes of respiratory support for infants born preterm. Study design: An economic evaluation was conducted as a component of a multicenter, randomized control trial from 2013 to 2015 enrolling infants born preterm at ≥28 weeks of gestation with respiratory distress, <24 hours old, who had not previously received endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation or surfactant. The economic evaluation was conducted from a healthcare sector perspective and the time horizon was from birth until death or first discharge. The cost-effectiveness of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) vs high-flow with “rescue” CPAP backup and high-flow without rescue CPAP backup (as sole primary support) were analyzed by using the hospital cost of inpatient stay in a tertiary center and the rates of endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation during admission. Results: Hospital inpatient cost records for 435 infants enrolled in all Australian centers were obtained. With “rescue” CPAP backup, an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was estimated of A$179 000 (US$123 000) per ventilation avoided if CPAP was used compared with high flow. Without rescue CPAP backup, cost per ventilation avoided was A$7000 (US$4800) if CPAP was used compared with high flow. Conclusions: As sole primary support, CPAP is highly likely to be cost-effective compared with high flow. Neonatal units choosing to use only one device should apply CPAP as primary respiratory support. Compared with high-flow with rescue CPAP backup, CPAP is unlikely to be cost-effective if willingness to pay per ventilation avoided is less than A$179 000 (US$123 000).
- high flow
- preterm infants