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Tranexamic acid in the routine treatment of postpartum hemorrhage in the United States: a cost-effectiveness analysis

      Background

      The World Maternal Antifibrinolytic trial demonstrated that tranexamic acid administered during postpartum hemorrhage reduces hemorrhage-related mortality and laparotomies. The World Health Organization has thus recommended early use of tranexamic acid in the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage. This recommendation has not been universally adopted in the United States, in part because of concerns about cost-effectiveness.

      Objective

      We aim to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of routine tranexamic acid administration in the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage in the United States, where the rate of hemorrhage-related mortality is lower than that described in the World Maternal Antifibrinolytic trial.

      Study Design

      We constructed a decision tree comparing 3 strategies in women with a clinical diagnosis of postpartum hemorrhage: no tranexamic acid, tranexamic acid given at any time, and ideal use of tranexamic acid given within 3 hours of delivery. The study was performed from a health care institution perspective with a time horizon of delivery until 6 weeks postpartum. We included interventions that differed by arm in the World Maternal Antifibrinolytic trial (hemorrhage-related mortality, laparotomies, and brace or compression sutures) and incorporated probabilities and costs based on available data for a population of women with postpartum hemorrhage in the United States. In our base case, the rate of postpartum hemorrhage–related mortality was 0.0388%, and the cost of tranexamic acid was $37.80. We assumed that the relative risk reduction in death and laparotomy with tranexamic acid would be similar to the World Maternal Antifibrinolytic trial (19% and 36%, respectively). The primary outcome was incremental cost per hemorrhage-related death averted, and a main secondary outcome was incremental cost per laparotomy avoided under each strategy. Another planned secondary outcome was cost per quality-adjusted life-year. We anticipated that the risk reduction (benefit) because of tranexamic acid in the United States may be less than in the World Maternal Antifibrinolytic trial; thus, we performed 1-way and 2-way sensitivity analyses to explore the parameter uncertainty across a wide range of data-supported estimates. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses with Monte Carlo simulation were performed.

      Results

      Tranexamic acid strategies were dominant (more effective and cost saving) compared with no tranexamic acid for patients with postpartum hemorrhage in the United States. One-way analyses showed that tranexamic acid is cost saving as long as the relative risk reduction of death with tranexamic acid is greater than 4.7%; the model was not sensitive to any other variables. Threshold analyses outside the bounds defined in the model showed that tranexamic acid is cost saving as long as the relative risk reduction of laparotomy with tranexamic acid is greater than 7% or the cost of tranexamic acid is less than $194. A 2-way sensitivity analysis of the risk reduction of death because of tranexamic acid and the baseline risk of postpartum hemorrhage–related death confirmed that tranexamic acid is cost saving across a wide range of plausible estimates. Furthermore, probabilistic sensitivity analysis demonstrated that the tranexamic acid strategies are cost saving in >99.9% of 10,000 Monte Carlo simulations. Despite the initial cost of administration, the annual net cost savings expected from routine use of tranexamic acid for the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage in the United States is $11.3 million, and we estimate that 9 maternal deaths would be averted in 1 year with this strategy. Giving tranexamic acid within 3 hours would almost triple the cost savings and improve maternal outcomes much further.

      Conclusion

      A policy of routine tranexamic acid early in the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage is likely to be cost saving in the United States. This conclusion holds true even when the relative risk reduction with tranexamic acid is significantly less than reported in the World Maternal Antifibrinolytic trial and when tranexamic acid is significantly more expensive than currently reported.

      Key words

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