Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Versus Nasal High Flow Therapy as Primary Support for Infants Born Preterm

Li Huang, Calum T. Roberts, Brett J. Manley, Louise S. Owen, Peter G. Davis, Kim M. Dalziel

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12 Citations (Scopus)


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).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-64.e2
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cost-effectiveness
  • CPAP
  • high flow
  • preterm infants

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