Medical and financial impact of a neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation referral center in the nitric oxide era

Pawlik, T. D.; Porta, N. F.; Steinhorn, R. H.; Ogata, E.; deRegnier, R. A.

Pediatrics. 2008 Dec 10; 123(1):e17-24

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The primary objective of this study was to determine whether widespread use of nitric oxide after Food and Drug Administration approval decreased admissions to a neonatal referral center for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation evaluation. We also sought to determine whether antecedent treatment delayed eventual transfer, resulting in sicker patients, increased mortality, increased extracorporeal membrane oxygenation application, and higher direct costs of care. METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of all of the patients transferred to a neonatal referral center for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation evaluation before (1995-1999) and after (2000-2005) Food and Drug Administration approval of nitric oxide. Patients were divided into "congenital diaphragmatic hernia" and "persistent pulmonary hypertension" (all other diagnoses) for additional analysis. RESULTS: Admission rates for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation evaluation decreased in the nitric oxide era, and eventual transfer was not delayed. Persistent pulmonary hypertension patients had improved oxygen indexes, a trend toward decreased mortality, decreased extracorporeal membrane oxygenation use, and decreased direct costs. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia patients had unchanged physiologic measurements, mortality, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation use with increased direct costs of care. As a whole, outcomes for patients transferred for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation evaluation improved, whereas direct costs were unchanged. CONCLUSIONS: Persistent pulmonary hypertension patients had improved outcomes with decreased costs, whereas congenital diaphragmatic hernia patients had unchanged outcomes with increased costs. Overall, patients admitted to this NICU because of the presence of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation services had improved outcomes without increased costs in the nitric oxide era.

Read More on PubMed