Cost-effectiveness of antiplatelet therapy to prolong primary patency of hemodialysis graft

Robert Nee*, Austin L. Parker, Dustin J. Little, Christina M. Yuan, Jonathan Himmelfarb, Stephen R. Lowe, Kevin C. Abbott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: The Dialysis Access Consortium (DAC) study group previously reported that treatment with extendedrelease dipyridamole plus aspirin (DASA) resulted in a significant but clinically modest improvement in primary unassisted arteriovenous graft (AVG) patency. Utilizing DAC published data, the objective of this study is to evaluate the cost effectiveness of antiplatelet interventions aimed at preventing loss of primary AVG patency in hemodialysis (HD) patients. Methods: We performed a cost-utility analysis, using a decision analysis tree model with a 12-month time horizon and a third party payer perspective. Interventions included DASA with and without concurrent aspirin, aspirin alone, and no prophylaxis. The modeled population was defined as adult (= 18 years of age) end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients who had undergone placement of a new AVG in the United States. The outcomes were costs, quality-adjusted life-years (QALY), incremental costeffectiveness ratios, and net monetary benefit. Probabilities were based upon published studies performed by the DAC Study Group while costs of medications and procedures were drawn from public sources. Utilities of health states were derived from published reports and the Short Form 6D (SF-6D) instrument. Results: Aspirin alone is the most cost effective strategy for AVG pharmacologic prophylaxis, as compared to no prophylaxis or DASA with or without concurrent aspirin. The results are robust on multiple scenario analyses using both deterministic and Monte Carlo probabilistic sensitivity analyses. Accounting for both costs and QALY, using aspirin alone to prevent AVG thrombosis can potentially reduce healthcare costs by $24,679,412 per year compared to no aspirin use, at a willingness-to-pay of $50,000/QALY. Conclusions: Aspirin monotherapy compared favorably to other strategies based on cost per QALY. Our findings support the use of aspirin prophylaxis in HD patients with a new AVG who do not have a contraindication to aspirin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-51
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiplatelet therapy
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Hemodialysis graft


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