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Resource use and costs of indwelling pleural catheters vs pleurodesis for malignant pleural effusions: a population-based study


Rationale — Malignant pleural effusions (MPE) are associated with significant health service use and healthcare costs, but the current evidence is limited.

Objectives — To compare 12-month post-procedure: (1) health service utilization, and (2) healthcare costs following indwelling pleural catheter (IPC) insertion with at-home drainage performed by homecare nursing services, versus in-hospital chemical pleurodesis.

Methods — We performed a retrospective population-based study on a cohort of adults with MPE who underwent IPC insertion or chemical pleurodesis between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2019 using provincial health administrative data (Ontario, Canada). Patients were followed from the procedure date until death or until 12-month post-procedure. Inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) was performed to adjust for imbalances in baseline characteristics. Differences in length of stay (LOS), readmissions, emergency department visits, home care visits, and healthcare costs were estimated using weighted regression analysis.

Results — Of 5,752 included individuals, 4432 (77%) underwent IPC insertion and 1320 (23%) had pleurodesis. In the weighted sample, individuals who received an IPC had fewer inpatient days (12.4 days vs 16 days, standardized mean difference 0.229), but a higher proportion of subsequent admissions for empyema (2.7% vs 1.1%, p=0.0002) compared to those undergoing pleurodesis. IPC individuals received more hours of nursing home care (41 hours vs 21.1 hours, standardized mean difference 0.671) but overall had lower average healthcare costs ($40,179 vs $46,640 per patient, standardized mean difference 0.177) than those receiving pleurodesis.

Conclusions — IPCs with home nursing drainage are associated with reduced health resource use compared to pleurodesis in adults with MPE even after controlling for important baseline and clinical characteristics. Given that both procedures have similar health outcomes, our findings support the ongoing promotion of IPCs to increase outpatient management of patients with MPEs.



Kwok C, Thavorn K, Amjadi K, Aaron SD, Kendzerska T. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2024; Feb 21 [Epub ahead of print].

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