Economic Evaluation of Individualized Nutritional Support for Hospitalized Patients with Chronic Heart Failure

Philipp Schuetz, Suela Sulo, Stefan Walzer, Sebastian Krenberger, Zeno Stagna, Filomena Gomes, Beat Mueller, Cory Brunton

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Background Malnutrition is a highly prevalent risk factor in hospitalized patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). A recent randomized trial found lower mortality and improved health outcomes when CHF patients with nutritional risk received individualized nutritional treatment. Objective To estimate the cost-effectiveness of individualized nutritional support in hospitalized patients with CHF. Methods This analysis used data from CHF patients at risk of malnutrition (N = 645) who were part of the Effect of Early Nutritional Therapy on Frailty, Functional Outcomes and Recovery of Undernourished Medical Inpatients Trial (EFFORT). Study patients with CHF were randomized into (i) an intervention group (individualized nutritional support to reach energy, protein, and micronutrient goals) or (ii) a control group (receiving standard hospital food). We used a Markov model with daily cycles (over a 6-month interval) to estimate hospital costs and health outcomes in the comparator groups, thus modeling cost-effectiveness ratios of nutritional interventions. Results With nutritional support, the modeled total additional cost over the 6-month interval was 15,159 Swiss Francs (SF). With an additional 5.77 life days, the overall incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for nutritional support vs. no nutritional support was 2625 SF per life day gained. In terms of complications, patients receiving nutritional support had a cost savings of 6214 SF and an additional 4.11 life days without complications, yielding an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for avoided complications of 1513 SF per life day gained. Conclusions On the basis of a Markov model, this economic analysis found that in-hospital nutritional support for CHF patients increased life expectancy at an acceptable incremental cost-effectiveness ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1703
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • chronic heart failure
  • clinical outcomes
  • cost savings
  • economic analysis
  • nutritional support


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