Indwelling Pleural Catheter Drainage Strategy for Malignant Effusion: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Majid Shafiq, Suzanne Simkovich, Shakir Hossen, David J. Feller-Kopman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Rationale: The likelihood of achieving pleurodesis after indwelling pleural catheter (IPC) placement for malignant pleural effusion varies with the specific drainage strategy used: symptom-guided drainage, daily drainage, or talc instillation through the IPC (IPC + talc). The relative cost-effectiveness of one strategy over the other is unknown.Objectives: We performed a decision tree model-based analysis to ascertain the cost-effectiveness of each IPC drainage strategy from a healthcare system perspective.Methods: We developed a decision tree model using theoretical event probability data derived from three randomized clinical trials and used 2019 Medicare reimbursement data for cost estimation. The primary outcome was incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) over an analytical horizon of 6 months with a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100,000/quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Monte Carlo probabilistic sensitivity analysis and one-way sensitivity analyses were conducted to measure the uncertainty surrounding base case estimates.Results: IPC + talc was a cost-effective alternative to symptom-guided drainage, with an ICER of $59,729/QALY. Monte Carlo probabilistic sensitivity analysis revealed that this strategy was favored in 54% of simulations. However, symptom-guided drainage was cost effective for pleurodesis rates >20% and for life expectancy <4 months. Daily drainage was not cost effective in any scenario, including for patients with nonexpandable lung, in whom it had an ICER of $2,474,612/QALY over symptom-guided drainage.Conclusions: For patients with malignant pleural effusion and an expandable lung, IPC + talc may be cost effective relative to symptom-guided drainage, although considerable uncertainty exists around this estimation. Daily IPC drainage is not a cost-effective strategy under any circumstance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-753
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • cost-effectiveness analysis
  • indwelling catheters
  • indwelling pleural catheter
  • malignant pleural effusion
  • tunneled pleural catheter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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