"It’s actually really straightforward," Stacey Amorosi, senior manager for health economics, told MassDevice.com last night at the annual meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society in Boston. "You’re faced with the up-front, 1-time cost of the [Watchman] procedure. That initial cost impact is pretty quickly eroded by [the cost of] complications from Warfarin and aspirin."
The study, "Medicare Budget Implications of 3 Stroke Risk Reduction Strategies in Non-valvular Atrial Fibrillation," found that the Watchman left atrial appendage closure device was less expensive than aspirin at 6 years and warfarin at 7 years. Over 10 years, treatment with the Watchman device saved an average $10,00 per patient compared with warfarin and nearly $19,000 compared with aspirin, according to the study.
Boston is bullish on the Watchman device, with CEO Mike Mahoney saying there’s "a big unmet need" among atrial fibrillation patients who can’t or won’t tolerate the anti-coagulant drugs.
The FDA approved Watchman in March only after an unprecedented 3 advisory panel meetings to evaluate the device.
"There were many patients waiting for this to be approved in the United States,"Mahoney said last month.