Cost-effectiveness study determines FFR can improve health while reducing economic burden in the UK


St Jude Medical has announced that an analysis of the benefits to using a fractional flow reserve (FFR)-guided intervention strategy found that the technology can improve patient outcomes while saving significant amounts of money. The analysis, which was funded by an educational research grant from St Jude Medical, found that within each of the country’s respective health care systems, the FFR-guided approach is cost-saving, meaning that use of FFR improves health outcomes for patients with multivessel coronary artery disease at lower costs when compared to using angiography alone.

The magnitude of health and budget impact strongly depends on assumptions about the cost of cardiovascular care in each country and local clinical conditions. Additionally, in each country the use of the PressureWire technology improved the quality-adjusted life expectancy for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) patients.

“In each region where this economic analysis was conducted, the PressureWire was found to both improve clinical outcomes by increasing quality-adjusted life years and reducing the number of cardiac events and save a substantial amount of resources,” said Uwe Siebert, from the Health and Life Sciences University of Hall, Austria, who led the research project. “Our research reveals that the magnitude of the health benefits and cost savings from FFR measurement for the European patients and health care payers could be even more significant under an optimal FFR implementation scenario.”

Specifically, in the context of the current healthcare model for each respective country, the analysis found that in the United Kingdom FFR use:

  • Can prevent on average more than 30 avoidable deaths, more than 70 heart attacks and more than 120 major adverse cardiac events over two years
  • Could save the British healthcare system more than £1.1 million over two years
  • Potentially reduces treatment cost for PCI per patient by an average of about £600 in the UK

The study was conducted to determine the incremental cost-effectiveness of FFR-guided vs. angiography-guided PCI in patients with multivessel coronary artery disease in the various healthcare systems in question from the societal perspective. To do this, original patient-level data from the landmark FAME (Fractional flow reserve vs. angiography in multivessel evaluation) study were used.

“Results in both the USA and now in Europe have demonstrated that FFR both improves patient outcomes and reduces cost to the healthcare system. With healthcare system finances under pressure everywhere, we are proud to offer a technology that relieves European healthcare systems from financial pressure and that protects and saves the lives of European patients,” said Frank J Callaghan, president of the St Jude Medical Cardiovascular and Ablation Technologies Division. 

The methodology of the data analysis in each country was verified by local physicians.

FFR measurements indicate the severity of blood flow blockages in the coronary arteries. Using the PressureWire Aeris or PressureWire Certus, this physiological measurement helps physicians to better identify which specific lesion or lesions are responsible for a patient’s ischaemia. The benefits of FFR were recognised in the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS) guidelines with new recommendations for the treatment of coronary artery disease which support measuring FFR in a wide range of patients before performing PCI or recommending surgery.