The elephant in the room: Ethical issues associated with rare and expensive medical conditions

Constantine D. Mavroudis, Constantine Mavroudis, Jeffrey P. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The treatment of rare and expensive medical conditions is one of the defining qualities of paediatric cardiology and congenital heart surgery. Increasing concerns over healthcare resource allocation are challenging the merits of treating more expensive forms of congenital heart disease, and this trend will almost certainly continue. In this manuscript, the problems of resource allocation for rare and expensive medical conditions are described from philosophical and economic perspectives. The argument is made that current economic models are limited in the ability to assess the value of treating expensive and rare forms of congenital heart disease. Further, multi-disciplinary approaches are necessary to best determine the merits of treating a patient population such as those with significant congenital heart disease that sometimes requires enormous healthcare resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1621-1625
Number of pages5
JournalCardiology in the young
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Congenital heart disease
  • rare diseases
  • resource allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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