Cost-effectiveness of thrombolysis within 4.5 hours of acute ischemic stroke: Experience from Australian Stroke Center

Sharman P. Tan Tanny, Lucy Busija, Danny Liew, Sarah Teo, Stephen M. Davis, Bernard Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE-: Previous economic studies outside Australia have demonstrated that patients treated with tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) within 4.5 hours of stroke onset have lower healthcare costs than those not. We aim to perform cost-effectiveness analysis of intravenous tPA in an Australian setting. METHODS-: Data on clinical outcomes and costs were derived for 378 patients who received intravenous tPA within 4.5 hours of stroke onset at Royal Melbourne Hospital (Australia) between January 2003 and December 2011. To simulate clinical outcomes and costs for a hypothetical control group assumed not to have received tPA, we applied efficacy data from a meta-analysis of randomized trials to outcomes observed in the tPA group. During a 1-year time-horizon, net costs, years of life lived, and quality-adjusted life-years were compared and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios derived for tPA versus no tPA. RESULTS-: In the study population, mean (SD) age was 68.2 (13.5) years and 206 (54.5%) were men. Median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score (interquartile range) at presentation was 12.5 (8-18). Compared with no tPA, we estimated that tPA would result in 0.02 life-years and 0.04 quality-adjusted life-years saved per person >1 year. The net cost of tPA was AUD $55.61 per patient. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were AUD $2377 per life-year saved and AUD $1478 per quality-adjusted life-years saved. Because the costs of tPA are incurred only once, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios would decrease with increasing time-horizon. Uncertainty analyses indicated the results to be robust. CONCLUSIONS-: Intravenous tPA within 4.5 hours represents a cost-effective intervention for acute ischemic stroke. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2269-2274
Number of pages6
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • cost-benefit analysis
  • stroke
  • stroke, acute
  • thrombolytic therapy
  • tissue-type plasminogen activator

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