Original Research

A cost comparison of rasburicase versus dialysis in the management of children with acute leukaemia and lymphoma at a South African centre

Morné F. Kahts, Alan Davidson, Ann van Eyssen, Peter Nourse, Mignon McCulloch, Marc Hendricks
South African Journal of Oncology | Vol 2 | a50 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajo.v2i0.50 | © 2018 Morne Frank Kahts, Alan Davidson, Ann van Eyssen, Peter Nourse, Mignon McCulloch, Marc Hendricks | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 July 2018 | Published: 29 October 2018

About the author(s)

Morné F. Kahts, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
Alan Davidson, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
Ann van Eyssen, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
Peter Nourse, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
Mignon McCulloch, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
Marc Hendricks, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Tumour lysis syndrome is a common complication of haematological malignancies and has historically been managed with hyperhydration, urine alkalinisation and allopurinol with renal dialysis reserved for patients in acute renal failure. Rasburicase has been shown to drastically reduce the need for dialysis; however, its use is limited in developing countries owing to its cost and availability.

Aim: This retrospective analysis aimed to compare the cost to state per patient of rasburicase compared to dialysis in the management and prevention of tumour lysis syndrome in paediatric patients presenting with haematological malignancies admitted to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH).

Setting: Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Methods: Patients from two consecutive 35 month periods, before and after the availability of rasburicase at RCWMCH, were grouped according to treatment modality, and the cumulative costs of hospitalisation, dialysis and drug administration were compared.

Results: The groups were comparable in mean age and gender. The mean total length of hospital stay was 10.04 days shorter for the rasburicase group than the dialysis group with the average cost per patient in the rasburicase group being R40 989.64 lower than the dialysis group.

Conclusion: The use of rasburicase results in a significant per patient cost saving when compared to dialysis, which often requires intensive care admission, and results in extended hospitalisation. The study supports the continued use of rasburicase as an essential adjunct in the management and prevention of tumour lysis syndrome, reaffirming its use as a cost-effective and efficient drug.


Keywords

leukaemia; lymphoma; burkitts; t-cell; dialysis; rasburicase; allopurinol; nephrocalcinosis

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