Aims The utilization and timing of revascularization in unstable coronary artery disease varies, which could have important consequences for patients and for treatment costs. The FRISC II invasive trial compared an early invasive strategy vs a non-invasive strategy with respect to the composite end-point of death and myocardial infarction as well as costs.
Methods and Results A total of 2457 patients, median age 66 years, comprising 70% men, were randomized. We prospectively recorded the patients' use of the health service. The results were analysed in a societal perspective. There was a significant 1·7% absolute reduction in deaths and a 3·7% absolute reduction in deaths and myocardial infarctions in the invasive compared to the non-invasive group after 12 months. During the initial hospitalization a patient in the invasive group spent on average 3·9 more days in hospital than a patient in the non-invasive group. Opposite results were found for rehospitalizations. The difference in mean total costs is SEK 23 876 (P<0·001). The incermental cost-effective ratio for choosing the invasive instead of the non-invasive strategy is SEK 1 404 000 per avoided death and SEK 645 000 per avoided death or myocardial infarction
Conclusion The high cost at the beginning of the invasive strategy is substantial. The clinical results of the FRISC II study provided evidence that the invasive strategy reduces the rate of death and myocardial infarction in patients with unstable coronary artery disease. For policy discussions concerning whether or not to implement the invasive strategy, these positive results should be balanced against the cost-consequences of the strategy.