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Acta Médica Costarricense

versão On-line ISSN 0001-6002versão impressa ISSN 0001-6012


VILLALOBOS-SOLANO, Paula; GONZALEZ-MURILLO, Laurie  e  ALVARADO-PRADO, Rebeca. Cost analysis of the alpha 1 placental macroglobulin measurement as screening on suspected preterm labor. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2022, vol.64, n.2, pp.33-44.  Epub 01-Jun-2022. ISSN 0001-6002.


identify the possible economic benefit of implementing the measurement of placental alpha 1 microglobulin in users with suspected Preterm Labor Threat, who access the emergency service of the Hospital de The Women Dr. Adolfo Carit Eva, as a mechanism to impact on maternal and infant mortality and economic resources in the Costa Rican Social Security Fund.


economic study, quantitative-retrospective approach, with cross-sectional design. This study included the consult of secondary sources of the Department of Medical Records and Statistics of the Hospital; where the cost of care for hospitalized patients diagnosed with ICD-10 “False Labor before 37 weeks” is calculated; compared to a hypothetical scenario where the qualitative measurement of placental alpha 1 microglobulin is implemented for this same health event. For the data analysis, both individual and collective costs were determined in diagnostic control tests, as well as hospital and medical treatment costs, which allowed estimating the individual, total and average costs of admission of these users. To calculate the costs of suspected Preterm Labor Treat ruled out, the following scenarios were proposed: hospitalization of all patients in whom a possible Preterm Labor Treat is suspected (n= 60) and use of the qualitative placental alpha1 microglobulin test, taking into account their negative predictive value (97%). Subsequently, the value of the cost/savings ratio is estimated (interpreted as beneficial if it is less than 1 and not beneficial otherwise).


An incidence of preterm delivery of 10.1% was reported; the costs derived from the care of patients with suspected preterm delivery come mainly from hospitalization.

Therefore, when developing the respective cost analysis, it is evident that the economic benefit of to incorporate qualitative measurement of placental alpha 1 microglobulin is derived mainly from the decrease in hospitalization. A minimum cost per patient of 3,317,071.21 colones is obtained, which translates to 5,593.79 dollars at the exchange rate in force on November 30, 2019 according to the Central Bank of Costa Rica. For its part, a maximum cost of 6,356,780.1 colones is estimated, which translates to 11,219.96 dollars at the exchange rate in effect on November 30, 2019. Therefore, once the assumed scenario of the implementation of the placental alpha1 microglobulin test in patients who consult the Emergencies for suspected Preterm Labor Threat has been determined, there is a potential effective saving of resources.


the use of the qualitative measurement of placental alpha 1 microglobulin, as an auxiliary diagnostic test in the management of the suspected threat of preterm delivery, it is recommended, from take the negative predictive value as a reference. However, it is necessary to carry out complementary studies to estimate the positive predictive value and other economic studies to include this test in the care algorithm of the Preterm Labor Threat.

Palavras-chave : preterm labor; obstetrics; public health.

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