Economic evaluation of the Melbourne Mobile Stroke Unit

Joosup Kim, Damien Easton, Henry Zhao, Skye Coote, Garveeta Sookram, Karen Smith, Michael Stephenson, Stephen Bernard, Mark W Parsons, Bernard Yan, Patricia M Desmond, Peter J Mitchell, Bruce CV Campbell, Geoffrey A. Donnan, Stephen M Davis, Dominique A. Cadilhac

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Background: The Melbourne Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) is the first Australian service to provide prehospital acute stroke treatment, including thrombolysis and facilitated triage for endovascular thrombectomy. Aims: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of the MSU during the first full year of operation compared with standard ambulance and hospital stroke care pathways (standard care). Methods: The costs and benefits of the Melbourne MSU were estimated using an economic simulation model. Operational costs and service utilization data were obtained from the MSU financial and patient tracking reports. The health benefits were estimated as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) avoided using local data on reperfusion therapy and estimates from the published literature on their effectiveness. Costs were presented in Australian dollars. The robustness of results was assessed using multivariable (model inputs varied simultaneously: 10,000 Monte Carlo iterations) and various one-way sensitivity analyses. Results: In 2018, the MSU was dispatched to 1244 patients during 200 days of operation. Overall, 167 patients were diagnosed with acute ischemic stroke, and 58 received thrombolysis, endovascular thrombectomy, or both. We estimated 27.94 DALYs avoided with earlier access to endovascular thrombectomy (95% confidence interval (CI) 15.30 to 35.93) and 16.90 DALYs avoided with improvements in access to thrombolysis (95% CI 9.05 to 24.68). The MSU was estimated to cost an additional $30,982 per DALY avoided (95% CI $21,142 to $47,517) compared to standard care. Conclusions: There is evidence that the introduction of MSU is cost-effective when compared with standard care due to earlier provision of reperfusion therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Stroke
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Jun 2020


  • Economic evaluation
  • mobile stroke unit
  • prehospital stroke treatment

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