Cost-Effectiveness of Treating Resistant Hypertension With an Implantable Carotid Body Stimulator


Kate C. Young, PhD, MPH, URMC Division of Vascular Surgery, 601 Elmwood Avenue,
PO Box 652, Rochester, NY 14620


The purposes of this study are to investigate the cost-effectiveness of an implantable carotid body stimulator (Rheos; CVRx, Inc, Minneapolis, MN) for treating resistant hypertension and determine the range of starting systolic blood pressure (SBP) values where the device remains cost-effective. A Markov model compared a 20-mm Hg drop in SBP from an initial level of 180 mm Hg with Rheos to failed medical management in a hypothetical 50-year-old cohort. Direct costs (2007$), utilities, and event rates for future myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure, and end-stage renal disease were modeled. Sensitivity analyses tested the assumptions in the model. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for Rheos was $64,400 per quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) using Framingham-derived event probabilities. The ICER was <$100,000 per QALYs for SBPs ≥142 mm Hg. A probability of device removal of <1% per year or SBP reductions of ≥24 mm Hg were variables that decreased the ICER below $50,000 per QALY. For cohort characteristics similar to Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial–Blood Pressure–Lowering Arm (ASCOT-BPLA) participants, the ICER became $26,700 per QALY. Two-way sensitivity analyses demonstrated that lowering SBP 12 mm Hg from 220 mm Hg or 21 mm Hg from 140 mm Hg were required. Rheos may be cost-effective, with an ICER between $50,000 and $100,000 per QALYs. Cohort characteristics and efficacy are key to the cost-effectiveness of new therapies for resistant hypertension .