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Original Research: Disorders of the Pleura |

Comparing Cost of Indwelling Pleural Catheter vs Talc Pleurodesis for Malignant Pleural EffusionCost Analysis of Malignant Pleural Effusions FREE TO VIEW

Erika D. Penz, MD; Eleanor K. Mishra, DPhil; Helen E. Davies, MD; Braden J. Manns, MD; Robert F. Miller, MBBS; Najib M. Rahman, DPhil
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Medicine (Dr Penz), University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada; the Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit (Drs Mishra and Rahman) and National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (Dr Rahman), University of Oxford, Oxford, England; the University Hospital of Wales (Dr Davies), Cardiff, Wales; the Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences (Dr Manns), University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada; and the Research Department of Infection and Population Health (Dr Miller), University College London, London, England.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Erika D. Penz, MD, Rm 565 Ellis Hall, Royal University Hospital, 103 Hospital Dr, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 0W8, Canada; e-mail: erika.penz@usask.ca


Part of this article has been published in abstract form (Penz E, Mishra E, Davies H, Manns B, Rahman N. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013:A2152) and presented in poster form at the American Thoracic Society International Conference, May 17-22, 2013, Philadelphia, PA.

FUNDING/SUPPORT: The TIME2 trial was supported with an unrestricted education grant from the British Lung Foundation and the Robert Luff Foundation, London, England. The University of Oxford sponsored the TIME2 trial. The IPCs and drainage bottles were provided by Rocket Medical PLC, Washington, England. An Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Clinician Fellowship award supported Dr Penz during her involvement in the analysis and preparation of the manuscript. Dr Manns is supported by Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions salary award and by an alternative funding plan from the Government of Alberta and Universities of Alberta and Calgary.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2014;146(4):991-1000. doi:10.1378/chest.13-2481
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BACKGROUND:  Malignant pleural effusion is associated with short life expectancy and significant morbidity. A randomized controlled trial comparing indwelling pleural catheters (IPCs) with talc pleurodesis found that IPCs reduced in-hospital time and the need for additional procedures but were associated with excess adverse events.

METHODS:  Using data from the clinical trial, we compared costs associated with use of IPCs and with talc pleurodesis. Resource use and adverse events were captured through case report forms over the 1-year trial follow-up. Costs for outpatient and inpatient visits, diagnostic imaging, nursing, and doctor time were obtained from the UK National Health Service reference costs and University of Kent’s Unit Costs of Health and Social Care 2011 and inflated to 2013 using the UK Consumer Price Index. Procedure supply costs were obtained from the manufacturer. Difference in mean costs was compared using nonparametric bootstrapping. All costs were converted to US dollars using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Purchasing Power Parity Index.

RESULTS:  Overall mean cost (SD) for managing patients with IPCs and talc pleurodesis was $4,993 ($5,529) and $4,581 ($4,359), respectively. The incremental mean cost difference was $401, with 95% CI of −$1,387 to $2,261. The mean cost related to ongoing drainage in the IPC group was $1,011 ($732) vs $57 ($213) in the talc pleurodesis group (P = .001). This included the cost of drainage bottles, dressing changes in the first month, and catheter removal. There was no significant difference in cost of the initial intervention or adverse events between the groups. For patients with survival < 14 weeks, IPC is significantly less costly than talc pleurodesis, with mean cost difference of −$1,719 (95% CI, −$3,376 to −$85).

CONCLUSIONS:  There is no significant difference in the mean cost of managing patients with IPCs compared with talc pleurodesis. For patients with limited survival, IPC appears less costly.

TRIAL REGISTRY:  isrctn.org; No.: ISRCTN87514420; URL: www.isrctn.org

Figures in this Article

Malignant pleural effusion accounts for 22% of all pleural effusions, with > 150,000 cases diagnosed annually in the United States and > 1 million worldwide.1,2 British Thoracic Society guidelines recommend that graded talc slurry be used as the sclerosing agent of choice delivered via an intercostal tube as first-line management for patients with malignant pleural effusion (herein referred to as talc pleurodesis); indwelling pleural catheter (IPC), or tunneled pleural catheter, insertion is recommended for a select subgroup. The delivery of the two interventions differs; talc pleurodesis requires up-front hospitalization, whereas IPC insertion, in general, is performed in an outpatient setting with ongoing drainage in the community thereafter.

The effectiveness of IPC insertion and talc pleurodesis has been compared in a randomized trial. The Second Therapeutic Intervention in Malignant Effusion (TIME2) trial measured symptom control and the subjective relief of malignant pleural effusion-related dyspnea with both treatment modalities.3 Secondary outcomes of the TIME2 trial included quality of life and health-care costs. Although IPCs were not found to be superior to talc pleurodesis for relieving dyspnea or improving quality of life, the use of IPCs was associated with reduced hospital stay and decreased pleural procedures, although with more frequent adverse events. To our knowledge, the only other randomized controlled trial comparing safety and efficacy of IPC insertion and pleurodesis for malignant pleural effusion used doxycycline as the sclerosant.4 In this study of 144 patients, there was no difference in effusion recurrence rate at 30 days or improvement in dyspnea or quality of life; however, there was a significantly shorter hospital length of stay (LOS) in the IPC group. Given the unknown impact of IPCs on resource use and costs, relative to standard care (ie, talc pleurodesis), a more thorough analysis of costs is warranted prior to recommendation of the adoption of IPC use as first-line management for patients with malignant pleural effusion.

Objective and Overview

Using clinical and resource data captured in the TIME2 trial, our primary objective was to compare total costs associated with the use of IPCs and with talc pleurodesis in patients with malignant pleural effusion. In a secondary analysis, we sought to compare the costs between groups across different categories (the initial procedure, adverse events, and those related to ongoing drainage).

TIME2 was a randomized controlled trial, conducted in seven centers across the United Kingdom, of 106 patients with confirmed malignant pleural effusion who were randomized to either IPC insertion or talc pleurodesis. Ethical and regulatory approval for the study was obtained from the Milton Keynes research ethics committee before recruitment commenced (REC number: 07/Q1603/2). After written informed consent, patients were randomized to receive either talc (chest tube and talc slurry pleurodesis) or IPC (Rocket Medical). IPCs were inserted in the outpatient setting (unless the patient was already admitted to hospital at the time of randomization, in which case the catheter was inserted in-hospital). Patients and their caregivers were instructed on how to perform drainage from the catheter. On average, the frequency of IPC drainage in the first 6 weeks of the trial was twice weekly, although this varied and was recorded in case report forms throughout the trial. All patients randomized to talc pleurodesis had a chest tube inserted and talc pleurodesis performed, if appropriate, in-hospital. Primary objective of the trial was to compare the efficacy of IPCs and talc pleurodesis at relieving dyspnea using the 100-mm visual analog scale. Baseline characteristics of the patients are summarized in Table 1.

Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 1 ]  Baseline Characteristics for 106 Patients With Malignant Pleural Effusion

Other malignancies were colorectal (4 IPC, 3 talc), ovarian (2 IPC, 5 talc), adenocarcinoma of unknown primary (4 IPC, 2 talc), renal (3 IPC, 2 talc), sarcoma (1 IPC, 2 talc), thymoma (1 IPC, 1 talc), esophageal (2 IPC), peritoneal (1 IPC, 1 talc), prostate (1 IPC), ampullary (1 IPC), leiomyosarcoma (1 IPC), melanoma (1 talc), myeloma (1 talc), nasopharyngeal (1 talc), and unknown (1 IPC, 1 talc). One patient in the talc group died prior to enrollment, so no demographic data were available. EORTC QLQ-30 = European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (higher % means better quality of life); IPC = indwelling pleural catheter; VAS = visual analog scale. (Reprinted with permission from Davies et al.3)

We conducted a cost analysis alongside the clinical trial. The perspective adopted for the valuation and costing of the intervention was that of the health-care payer; therefore, nonmedical costs (ie, patient time and travel costs, as well as costs related to lost productivity) were not included. All patients were followed for 1 year or until death, whichever occurred first, and the costing analysis was performed over the same time frame. The median survival in this patient population was 200 days (14% were alive at 1 year); therefore, no additional modeling of costs beyond the trial period was performed. Given that costs included in the analysis were incurred over the trial follow-up period (≤ 1 year), discounting was not performed.

Resources and Costs

The resources required to manage malignant pleural effusion was based on information documented on trial patients’ case report forms. Resource use throughout the trial was recorded throughout the study period and divided into the following categories: (1) initial intervention procedures and hospital LOS (if required), (2) resources related to ongoing drainage, and (3) adverse events (summarized in Table 2).

Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 2 ]  Resource Use Categories

CRF = case report form; LOS = length of stay. See Table 1 legend for expansion of other abbreviation.

Initial Intervention:

Initial intervention costs consisted of baseline chest tube insertion costs plus hospital or day-case unit charges, depending on whether patients were treated as an inpatient or outpatient. Baseline insertion costs included chest tube insertion supplies, ultrasound provision, nursing time (1 h), physician time (1 h), and drainage (ie, if additional collection bottles were used for patients with high-volume fluid production). In the case of patients with an IPC, we included an additional cost for IPC education by a nurse (duration, 2 h). For patients undergoing talc pleurodesis, in addition to baseline insertion costs, we included costs related to the pleurodesis itself (ie, analgesia and the need for an additional pre-pleurodesis chest radiograph).

Ongoing Drainage:

The total volume of pleural fluid drainage was recorded in both study groups. Patients with IPCs were given a logbook after insertion of their catheter in which they were asked to record how often they drained their IPC and the number of bottles required. The total number of bottles used during the follow-up period was then multiplied by the manufacturer’s acquisition cost for the drainage bottle.

Adverse Events:

Data for all adverse events were collected. A blinded reviewer (R. F. M.) determined if adverse events were related to the intervention. Resource use and any additional procedure required as a result of an adverse event were recorded and assigned a specific procedural cost. Diagnostic imaging associated with the adverse event was also noted. Finally, hospitalizations (including the LOS) and the number of outpatient visits associated with each adverse event were recorded.

Valuation of Resource Use

All patients admitted to hospital were assigned a cost of hospital care using the Health Resource Group (HRG) “pleural effusion with major comorbidities and complications,” taken from the UK National Health Service (NHS) HRG reference manual.5 This HRG cost was converted to a daily hospital cost using information on average LOS for this HRG (average LOS = 7.7 days). We then calculated a total hospitalization cost for patients based on their individual LOS. An excess bed day cost, lower than the daily hospital cost noted previously, was then incorporated to acknowledge the fact that the cost of hospital admissions tends to decrease as the number of days increases beyond a “trim point” (13 days).5

For outpatient visits, an HRG-specific day-case unit cost was obtained from the NHS reference cost manual. Nursing and physician charges were taken from the University of Kent’s Unit Costs of Health and Social Care 2011.6 Price weights for supplies associated with the procedures were obtained directly from the manufacturer. All unit price weights are summarized in e-Table 1 of the online supplement.

Costs in 2011 UK pounds were inflated to 2013 values using the UK Consumer Price Index.7 Using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Purchasing Power Parity Index (December 2012), costs in UK pounds were converted to 2013 US dollars.8

Statistical Analysis

All analyses were calculated on an intention-to-treat basis. Cost data are not normally distributed (typically, right-skewed with heavy tail); therefore, to compare mean costs across groups, our primary analysis used nonparametric bootstrap with 1,000 replications to derive a 95% CI for the incremental mean cost difference between the two groups. For the bootstrap estimate, we used the percentile method. We randomly sampled with replacement, generating 1,000 random samples. Differences in mean costs for each of the 1,000 samples was calculated, ranked from lowest to highest, and difference in mean cost for the 26th and 975th ordered values defined the 95% CI.

The data collection was incomplete for one main variable: the total drainage volume. To account for this, drainage volume following the initial procedure was imputed based on the mean drainage of complete cases for each group.9 Missing values for drainage volume during the follow-up period were imputed using last drainage carried forward, as there was significantly higher interpatient variability in drainage compared with intrapatient variability across follow-up periods. The proportion of drainage data missing is described further in e-Table 2 of the online supplement. All statistical analyses were performed using Stata 11.2 (StataCorp LP).

Sensitivity Analysis:

To test the robustness of our base case assumptions, we performed several sensitivity analyses. First, procedural costs (ie, for chest tube insertion supplies plus nursing and physician time) may have been included within the NHS unit price weights given for outpatient visits or inpatient stays in the NHS reference manual. Therefore, we explored the impact of the cost analysis after removing all additional procedural costs from the day-case unit and inpatient unit price weights.

Second, our estimates of total costs did not include follow-up visit costs mandated by the trial protocol, as these were deemed to be equal between both groups. As part of our sensitivity analyses, we compared mean total costs between the groups including all clinical trial protocol-related costs. Third, we adjusted the price of IPC drainage bottles to see if that affected the total mean cost difference between groups.

Fourth, there is some suggestion in the literature that the cost-effectiveness of IPC is greater in patients with limited life expectancy (< 3 mo).10 We compared the mean cost difference between groups in patients who survived longer than 14 weeks as well as in patients who died within 14 weeks of randomization within the trial.

Last, our primary analysis assumed that patients or their families in the IPC group performed all drainage of the pleural catheters. As part of our sensitivity analysis, we assumed that patients with an IPC would require 2 h of nursing care per week and compared the mean cost difference between groups under this scenario.

Baseline Characteristics, Primary Outcome, Adverse Events, and Survival

Baseline characteristics between the two groups were similar (Table 1).3 All primary and secondary clinical outcomes are reported separately.3 A limited summary of the primary clinical outcome, adverse events, and survival time from the clinical trial are reported in Table 3. There was no difference in the primary clinical outcome of mean daily dyspnea over the first 42 days of the trial between groups. There was no significant difference in survival time between groups, with a mean difference of −0.8 months (95% CI, −2.4 to 0.8 months; P = .32). Overall, 21 of 52 patients (40%) in the IPC group vs seven of 54 patients (13%) in the talc group experienced adverse events (OR, 4.70; 95% CI, 1.75-12.60; P = .002); however, no significant difference was seen between groups with serious adverse events.

Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 3 ]  Summary of Primary Outcome, Adverse Events, and Mortality From TIME2 Randomized Clinical Trial

IQR = interquartile range; TIME2 = The Second Therapeutic Intervention in Malignant Effusion trial. See Table 1 legend for expansion of other abbreviations. (Adapted with permission from Davies et al.3)

a 

Total No. adverse events is listed. A patient may have had more than one adverse event.

b 

The serious adverse events included in the “Other” category were chest pain requiring readmission (1 IPC), surgical emphysema (1 talc), persistent air leak (1 talc). The three nonserious adverse events in the talc group were all chest tube displacement prior to pleurodesis. The complications of symptomatic fluid loculation requiring fibrinolytics, cellulitis, and blocked catheter in the talc group were observed in two patients who had IPCs inserted following failure of pleurodesis.

Resource Use

Average resource use by each group is summarized in Table 4. The distribution of total costs in each group is shown in Figure 1.

Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 4 ]  Resource Use, Mean Cost, and Mean Cost Difference Between IPC and Talc in US$

See Table 1 and 2 legends for expansion of abbreviations.

a 

Mean LOS associated with insertion of initial intervention (includes those who were not admitted in the IPC group).

b 

Total number of visits or procedures performed in each group.

c 

Total number of chest radiographs (top) and CT scans (bottom) performed in each group.

d 

Bootstrap estimate of mean cost difference and 95% CI.

e 

IPC minus Talc.

Figure Jump LinkFigure 1 –  Right-skewed distribution of total cost for IPC and talc groups. IPC = indwelling pleural catheter.Grahic Jump Location
Initial Procedure:

One hundred one drains were successfully inserted, 51 in the IPC arm and 50 in the talc pleurodesis arm (two patients died between randomization and enrollment, and, therefore, no procedures were performed; two patients had no pleural fluid; and one patient withdrew from the study). All patients randomized to talc pleurodesis were admitted to hospital, whereas 19 patients (37%) randomized to the IPC group were inpatients at the time of randomization and had their IPC placed in-hospital.

Data were missing for 10 patients (18.5%) in the talc pleurodesis group and 23 patients (44%) in the IPC group. The average initial drainage was 2,825 mL (SD, 1,991 mL) in the talc pleurodesis group, equivalent to two large drainage bottles (1,800 mL capacity), and 1,776 mL, equivalent to 2.96 bottles with 600 mL capacity (SD, 1.04), in the IPC group.

Following insertion of the catheter, the mean LOS in the IPC group was 2.49 days (SD, 7) with a median of 0 days (interquartile range [IQR], 0-1) after randomization. Mean LOS in the talc pleurodesis group was 4.98 days (SD, 3.65), with a median LOS of 4 days (IQR, 2-6) after randomization: a difference of −2.5 days (95% CI, −4.68 to −0.292). For patients in the IPC group already admitted to hospital at the time of randomization (n = 19), mean LOS after randomization was 6.63 days (SD, 10.3), with a median of 2 days (IQR, 1-8).

Follow-up Drainage:

Average pleural drainage for the study period was 24.8 bottles (SD, 21) in the IPC group and 1.6 bottles (SD, 7) in the talc pleurodesis group. Because of reaccumulation of patients’ pleural effusions (ie, pleurodesis failure), 46 additional procedures were performed on 12 patients in the talc pleurodesis group. This compared with three additional procedures on three patients in the IPC group. Seven out of 54 patients (13%) in the talc pleurodesis group required repeat thoracentesis vs one patient in the IPC group. Ten patients in the talc pleurodesis group and two patients in the IPC group required further chest tube insertion during the trial.

Adverse Events:

There were a total of 28 adverse events in the IPC group and nine adverse events in the talc pleurodesis group. In the IPC group, these resulted in 33 outpatient visits (n = 17) and 15 admissions to hospital (n = 11), with an average LOS of 8.86 days (SD, 12). In the talc pleurodesis group there were 41 additional outpatient visits (n = 12) and 15 admissions to hospital (n = 10), with an average LOS of 5.46 days (SD, 4 days).

Costs
Primary Analysis:

Mean costs for each group and the mean cost difference between groups are summarized in Table 4. Mean costs in UK pounds for each group is summarized in e-Table 3. The total mean cost (SD) for managing patients with IPC and talc pleurodesis was $4,993 ($5,529) and $4,581 ($4,359), respectively, with a mean difference of +$401 (95% CI, −$1,387 to $2,261). There was no significant difference in mean adverse event cost between groups, nor was there a difference in significant mean cost between groups after combining the cost of initial intervention and ongoing drainage costs over the trial period.

Sensitivity Analysis

Results of the sensitivity analyses are shown in Table 5. Results of the sensitivity analyses expressed in UK pounds can be found in e-Table 4. After removing the procedural costs from patient visits (ie, including just the day-case visit or hospital cost in the cost calculation), the mean cost difference between groups was not significant, −$54 (95% CI, −$1,565 to $2,122). Inclusion of clinical trial protocol-induced costs altered the mean total cost in each group; however, the difference between groups was not significant.

Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 5 ]  Impact of Changes in Uncertain Variables on Mean Cost Differences

See Table 1 legend for expansion of abbreviation.

a 

Original price of bottles with dressing changes.

b 

25% reduction in price of bottles with dressing changes.

c 

50% reduction in price of bottles with dressing changes.

d 

75% reduction in price of bottles with dressing changes.

e 

Original price of bottles without dressing changes.

f 

25% reduction in price of bottles without dressing changes.

g 

50% reduction in price of bottles without dressing changes.

h 

75% reduction in price of bottles without dressing changes.

We tested whether incremental reductions in the manufacturer’s price for IPC drainage bottles (by 75%, 50%, or 25%) had any effect on the total mean cost, noting a trend toward cost savings with IPC. However, the CIs around the estimates remained large and included a mean cost difference of zero.

The mean cost of treating patients who survived for more than 14 weeks was $5,707 ($1,122) and $4,625 ($1,085) in the IPC and talc pleurodesis groups, respectively (mean difference, $1,098 [95% CI, −$1,418 to $4,010]). For patients who died before 14 weeks, the mean cost of treating patients was lower in the IPC group ($2,944 [$656]) compared with the talc pleurodesis group ($4,671 [$642]) (mean difference, −$1,719 [95% CI, −$3,376 to −$85]).

If we assume that patients with IPCs require nursing care of 2 h per week for drainage and dressing changes, the mean cost for the IPC group increases to $6,807 ($6,225) and to $4,638 ($4,411) in the talc pleurodesis group. This results in a significant difference in costs of $2,130 (95% CI, $205-$4,184).

Using a comprehensive costing dataset collected alongside a randomized trial over a 1-year period, we noted no difference in the cost of treating patients with malignant pleural effusion with first-line IPC insertion compared with talc pleurodesis. The talc pleurodesis group had a longer initial length of hospital stay, but there were significantly higher costs associated with ongoing drainage for patients with an IPC. Results from our sensitivity analyses suggest that IPC is a less costly alternative to talc pleurodesis in patients with limited survival. Alternatively, if patients with IPC require significant nursing support for ongoing drainage (2 h per week or more), then IPC use is more costly compared with talc pleurodesis.

The TIME2 trial demonstrated that both IPC and talc pleurodesis are effective in reducing patient-reported dyspnea symptoms in patients with malignant pleural effusions and concluded that the use of either IPC or talc pleurodesis should be based on patient preferences after discussion of the risks and benefits of each therapy. This cost analysis shows no difference in overall costs between IPC and talc pleurodesis, lending support to the clinical recommendation that either IPC or talc pleurodesis can be used to treat malignant pleural effusions and that the choice of which one should be based on patient preferences, after discussion of the risks and benefits of both therapies. In addition to patient preferences, and when considering the costs of these two treatment options from the health-care payer perspective, we offer the following recommendations:

  1. If, on average, patients will require ≥ 2 h/wk of nursing care for drainage and catheter care, then IPC becomes significantly more costly, and we recommend talc pleurodesis be considered the preferred treatment option for patients with malignant pleural effusions.

  2. For patients with expected survival < 14 weeks (based on a proxy performance status score of 3 or 4), and without expected nursing support at home, we recommend IPC be considered the preferred treatment option for patients with malignant pleural effusions.

  3. For patients with expected survival < 14 weeks and with expected nursing support of ≥ 2 h/wk, there is no significant cost difference between IPC and talc pleurodesis, and, therefore, the choice of intervention should be based solely on patient preferences after informed consent.

To date, no other study that we are aware of has compared the costs associated with IPC or talc pleurodesis using data from a randomized clinical trial. Other studies, which have modeled the cost-effectiveness of IPCs using observational data, show IPCs to be incrementally more costly than talc pleurodesis.10,11 In one study, IPC insertion was noted to be cost-effective relative to talc pleurodesis when the life expectancy of patients was < 6 weeks or if the probability of spontaneous pleurodesis with IPC was > 87%.11

A cost-effectiveness decision model of tunneled pleural catheters vs bedside pleurodesis, repeated thoracentesis, and thoracoscopic talc pleurodesis found the former to be superior to the other therapeutic options. An incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (cost per quality-adjusted life year) of $49,978 relative to repeat thoracentesis was demonstrated.10 The findings of Puri et al,10 however, were specifically in patients with limited longevity (survival < 3 months), a spontaneous pleurodesis rate from IPCs of 40% and a complication rate of 5%. If spontaneous pleurodesis rates fell or complication rates increased, the cost-effectiveness of IPC reduced. When patient survival was modeled to 12 months, bedside talc pleurodesis was superior to all other strategies.

These results support our findings that, in a patient population with a median survival of approximately 6 months, IPCs have a similar cost to bedside talc pleurodesis. Of note, our study suggests that the use of IPC may be associated with cost savings, compared with talc pleurodesis, for patients who survived < 14 weeks. To our knowledge, there have been no studies published to date that have identified predictors of mortality in patients with malignant pleural effusion. This clinical information may be very helpful in identifying patients for whom the use of IPC is clinically indicated and ultimately cost-effective.

A major strength of our study was the comprehensive and complete collection of resource data for patients in the trial. In addition, as our study population has a limited life expectancy (median, 6 months) the length of follow-up for 1 year was sufficient to capture all clinically important outcomes and relevant costs associated with the intervention.3

There are several limitations of our study. First, the sample size was chosen to determine a clinically important difference in breathlessness between the groups and was not powered to detect differences in health-care costs. Despite this, our study provides relevant information about the cost of both therapies. Second, although it may be advantageous that all costs incurred during the period of a clinical trial are included (regardless of whether they are related to the intervention [eg, all hospitalizations vs intervention related-hospitalizations]), we evaluated costs specific to the intervention only. Third, the perspective of our study was that of the health-care system. Although this perspective is admittedly narrower than other possible perspectives (for example, societal perspective, which attempts to capture time costs of patients, caregiver burden costs, and costs associated with productivity loss), the additional costs required to inform a societal perspective were not collected during the clinical trial. Fourth, the overall IPC adverse event rate reported in the TIME2 trial was 40% compared with 13% in the talc pleurodesis group, higher than what has been described previously in the literature. We believe this may be related to a few factors: Most data in the literature have been retrospective, and, therefore, actual complications recorded may be lower; and definitions of adverse events vary (the TIME2 trial counted IPC blockage as a complication compared with other studies that did not). For costing purposes in our study, additional procedures required during the trial and related adverse events were combined. Despite the increased number of patients with adverse events in the IPC group, the costs associated with adverse events were no different between groups. This likely is related to the fact that serious adverse events were not significantly different between the groups, and additional costs associated with increased pleural procedures in the talc group were balanced out by the increased total number of adverse events in the IPC group. Finally, this study examined the differences in costs between two management approaches with similar effectiveness (ie, a cost-minimization study). A full economic evaluation incorporating quality of life and costs would be informative to determine the cost-effectiveness of IPCs. This evaluation is underway.

The overall comparative costs of managing patients with malignant pleural effusion with IPCs or talc pleurodesis are similar; however, the resources required for the two strategies differ. Higher initial hospital bed-day costs are incurred with talc pleurodesis, whereas IPC insertion results in increased ongoing drainage costs. IPCs become less costly compared with talc pleurodesis for patients with expected survival < 14 weeks. Identifying predictors of survival in patients with malignant pleural effusions may be helpful in deciding which management strategy may be best for patients. Cost savings with IPC may be lost if significant nursing support is required (> 2 h/wk). These findings are important for both clinicians and health-care decision makers. With the information available, we suggest that first-line management of patients with malignant effusion can include either treatment, and the choice of patient treatment should be tailored to individual circumstances and goals of care.

Author contributions: E. D. P. and N. M. R. affirm that the manuscript is an honest, accurate, and transparent account of the study being reported; that no important aspects of the study have been omitted; and that any discrepancies from the study as planned have been explained. E. K. M., H. E. D., and N. M. R. contributed to study concept and design; E. K. M., H. E. D., and N. M. R. contributed to acquisition of data; E. D. P., E. K. M., H. E. D., B. M., R. F. M., and N. M. R. contributed to analysis and interpretation of data; E. D. P. and B. J. M. contributed to drafting of the manuscript; E. D. P., E. K. M., H. E. D., B. J. M., and R. F. M. contributed to critical revision of manuscript for important intellectual content; E. D. P. and B. J. M. contributed to statistical analysis; and E. D. P., E. K. M., H. E. D., B. J. M., R. F. M., and N. M. R. contributed to approval of the final version.

Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The authors have reported to CHEST the following conflicts of interest: Dr Miller received support for lectures on HIV infection from Merck & Co, Inc and Gilead. Dr Rahman acts as a consultant to Rocket Medical PLC for device development. Drs Penz, Mishra, Davies, and Manns have reported that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Role of sponsors: The sponsors and funding bodies had no role in the design, conduct, analysis, or writing of the manuscript.

Other contributions: We thank Peter Faris, PhD, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB, Canada, and Brennan Kahan, MRC Clinical Trials Unit, London, England, for helpful discussions regarding statistical analysis.

Additional information: The e-Tables can be found in the Supplemental Materials section of the online article.

HRG

Health Resource Group

IPC

indwelling pleural catheter

LOS

length of stay

NHS

UK National Health Service

TIME2

Second Therapeutic Intervention in Malignant Effusion

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Personal Social Services Research Unit. Unit costs of health and social care 2011. PSSRU website. http://www.pssru.ac.uk/pdf/uc/uc2011/uc2011.pdf. Accessed July 16, 2012.
 
Office for National Statistics. Prices division. Consumer price inflation reference tables, October 2013 (Table 2). http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/cpi/consumer-price-indices/october-2013/index.html. Accessed December 4, 2013.
 
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Purchasing power parities for GDP. OECD website. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/purchasing-power-parities-for-gdp-2014-4_ppp-gdp-table-2014-4-en. Accessed December 4, 2013.
 
White IR, Thompson SG. Adjusting for partially missing baseline measurements in randomized trials. Stat Med. 2005;24(7):993-1007. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Puri V, Pyrdeck TL, Crabtree TD, et al. Treatment of malignant pleural effusion: a cost-effectiveness analysis. Ann Thorac Surg. 2012;94(2):374-379. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Olden AM, Holloway R. Treatment of malignant pleural effusion: PleuRx catheter or talc pleurodesis? A cost-effectiveness analysis. J Palliat Med. 2010;13(1):59-65. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 

Figures

Figure Jump LinkFigure 1 –  Right-skewed distribution of total cost for IPC and talc groups. IPC = indwelling pleural catheter.Grahic Jump Location

Tables

Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 1 ]  Baseline Characteristics for 106 Patients With Malignant Pleural Effusion

Other malignancies were colorectal (4 IPC, 3 talc), ovarian (2 IPC, 5 talc), adenocarcinoma of unknown primary (4 IPC, 2 talc), renal (3 IPC, 2 talc), sarcoma (1 IPC, 2 talc), thymoma (1 IPC, 1 talc), esophageal (2 IPC), peritoneal (1 IPC, 1 talc), prostate (1 IPC), ampullary (1 IPC), leiomyosarcoma (1 IPC), melanoma (1 talc), myeloma (1 talc), nasopharyngeal (1 talc), and unknown (1 IPC, 1 talc). One patient in the talc group died prior to enrollment, so no demographic data were available. EORTC QLQ-30 = European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (higher % means better quality of life); IPC = indwelling pleural catheter; VAS = visual analog scale. (Reprinted with permission from Davies et al.3)

Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 2 ]  Resource Use Categories

CRF = case report form; LOS = length of stay. See Table 1 legend for expansion of other abbreviation.

Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 3 ]  Summary of Primary Outcome, Adverse Events, and Mortality From TIME2 Randomized Clinical Trial

IQR = interquartile range; TIME2 = The Second Therapeutic Intervention in Malignant Effusion trial. See Table 1 legend for expansion of other abbreviations. (Adapted with permission from Davies et al.3)

a 

Total No. adverse events is listed. A patient may have had more than one adverse event.

b 

The serious adverse events included in the “Other” category were chest pain requiring readmission (1 IPC), surgical emphysema (1 talc), persistent air leak (1 talc). The three nonserious adverse events in the talc group were all chest tube displacement prior to pleurodesis. The complications of symptomatic fluid loculation requiring fibrinolytics, cellulitis, and blocked catheter in the talc group were observed in two patients who had IPCs inserted following failure of pleurodesis.

Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 4 ]  Resource Use, Mean Cost, and Mean Cost Difference Between IPC and Talc in US$

See Table 1 and 2 legends for expansion of abbreviations.

a 

Mean LOS associated with insertion of initial intervention (includes those who were not admitted in the IPC group).

b 

Total number of visits or procedures performed in each group.

c 

Total number of chest radiographs (top) and CT scans (bottom) performed in each group.

d 

Bootstrap estimate of mean cost difference and 95% CI.

e 

IPC minus Talc.

Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 5 ]  Impact of Changes in Uncertain Variables on Mean Cost Differences

See Table 1 legend for expansion of abbreviation.

a 

Original price of bottles with dressing changes.

b 

25% reduction in price of bottles with dressing changes.

c 

50% reduction in price of bottles with dressing changes.

d 

75% reduction in price of bottles with dressing changes.

e 

Original price of bottles without dressing changes.

f 

25% reduction in price of bottles without dressing changes.

g 

50% reduction in price of bottles without dressing changes.

h 

75% reduction in price of bottles without dressing changes.

References

Ferlay J, Bray F, Forman D, et al. GLOBOCAN 2008 v2.0, Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer. http://globocan.iarc.fr. Published 2010. Accessed October 8, 2012.
 
American Thoracic Society. Management of malignant pleural effusions. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2000;162(5):1987-2001. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Davies HE, Mishra EK, Kahan BC, et al. Effect of an indwelling pleural catheter vs chest tube and talc pleurodesis for relieving dyspnea in patients with malignant pleural effusion: the TIME2 randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012;307(22):2383-2389. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Putnam JB Jr, Light RW, Rodriguez RM, et al. A randomized comparison of indwelling pleural catheter and doxycycline pleurodesis in the management of malignant pleural effusions. Cancer. 1999;86(10):1992-1999. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Department of Health. 2010-11 Reference costs publication. London, UK: Department of Health; November 17, 2011.
 
Personal Social Services Research Unit. Unit costs of health and social care 2011. PSSRU website. http://www.pssru.ac.uk/pdf/uc/uc2011/uc2011.pdf. Accessed July 16, 2012.
 
Office for National Statistics. Prices division. Consumer price inflation reference tables, October 2013 (Table 2). http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/cpi/consumer-price-indices/october-2013/index.html. Accessed December 4, 2013.
 
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Purchasing power parities for GDP. OECD website. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/purchasing-power-parities-for-gdp-2014-4_ppp-gdp-table-2014-4-en. Accessed December 4, 2013.
 
White IR, Thompson SG. Adjusting for partially missing baseline measurements in randomized trials. Stat Med. 2005;24(7):993-1007. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Puri V, Pyrdeck TL, Crabtree TD, et al. Treatment of malignant pleural effusion: a cost-effectiveness analysis. Ann Thorac Surg. 2012;94(2):374-379. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Olden AM, Holloway R. Treatment of malignant pleural effusion: PleuRx catheter or talc pleurodesis? A cost-effectiveness analysis. J Palliat Med. 2010;13(1):59-65. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
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