Comparison of the effects of sugammadex versus neostigmine for reversal of neuromuscular block on hospital costs of care

Luca J. Wachtendorf, Tim M. Tartler, Elena Ahrens, Annika S. Witt, Omid Azimaraghi, Philipp Fassbender, Aiman Suleiman, Felix C. Linhardt, Michael Blank, Sarah Y. Nabel, Jerry Y. Chao, Pavel Goriacko, Parsa Mirhaji, Timothy T. Houle, Maximilian S. Schaefer, Matthias Eikermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Sugammadex reversal of neuromuscular block facilitates recovery of neuromuscular function after surgery, but the drug is expensive. We evaluated the effects of sugammadex on hospital costs of care. Methods: We analysed 79 474 adult surgical patients who received neuromuscular blocking agents and reversal from two academic healthcare networks between 2016 and 2021 to calculate differences in direct costs. We matched our data with data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project-National Inpatient Sample (HCUP–NIS) to calculate differences in total costs in US dollars. Perioperative risk profiles were defined based on ASA physical status and admission status (ambulatory surgery vs hospitalisation). Results: Based on our registry data analysis, administration of sugammadex vs neostigmine was associated with lower direct costs (–1.3% lower costs; 95% confidence interval [CI], –0.5 to –2.2%; P=0.002). In the HCUP-NIS matched cohort, sugammadex use was associated with US$232 lower total costs (95% CI, –US$376 to –US$88; P=0.002). Subgroup analysis revealed that sugammadex was associated with US$1042 lower total costs (95% CI, –US$1198 to –US$884; P<0.001) in patients with lower risk. In contrast, sugammadex was associated with US$620 higher total costs (95% CI, US$377 to US$865; P<0.001) in patients with a higher risk (American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status ≥3 and preoperative hospitalisation). Conclusions: The effects of using sugammadex on costs of care depend on patient risk, defined based on comorbidities and admission status. We observed lower costs of care in patients with lower risk and higher costs of care in hospitalised surgical patients with severe comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • healthcare costs
  • neostigmine
  • neuromuscular blocking agents
  • rocuronium
  • sugammadex
  • vecuronium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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