The burden of illness for meconium aspiration syndrome and cost prediction related to surfactant therapy for meconium aspiration syndrome in Korea
Journal of the Korean Medical Association (대한의사협회지)
Journal of the Korean Medical Association (대한의사협회지), Vol.54(5) : 549~556, 2011
Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) is an important cause of respiratory distress in neonates. Surfactant therapy has been used to improve oxygenation for infants with MAS recently. The object of this study is to estimate the number of candidates for surfactant use in MAS and the cost for surfactant, and to analyze its cost-effectiveness in Korea. Using Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service reimbursement data, the number of neonates with a diagnosis of MAS receiving mechanical ventilation was counted. The annual cost for surfactant use was calculated using the number of patients receiving mechanical ventilation for at least three days who were considered potential candidates for surfactant use. The cost-effectiveness was evaluated using the effectiveness data from a previous meta-analysis. Infants with a diagnosis of MAS receiving mechanical ventilation were 0.92 per 1,000 live births annually. Among them, 55% were potential candidates for surfactant use. The expected annual cost for surfactant was 990 million Korean won and 500 million Korean won and the number needed to treat was 14.3 and 6.7 in surfactant bolus therapy and surfactant lavage therapy, respectively. Sixty-four million won was estimated as the cost to prevent one infant death by surfactant bolus therapy and 15 million won by surfactant lavage therapy. The surfactant therapy for MAS is presently not covered by the Korean national health insurance and its application to MAS is limited because of the high financial burden to the patients' family. This study's results could help healthcare decision makers establish a policy in the future.