Donor Human Milk for Preterm Infants: A Cost-Consequence Analysis of Alternative Preservation Methods



To perform cost-consequence and cost-effectiveness analyses of 2 methods of donor human milk (DHM) preservation—Holder pasteurization (HoP) and high-pressure processing (HPP)—in human milk banks in Poland.


We used the results of the LACTOTECHnology as an answer to special nutritional requirements of preterm infants (LACTOTECH) preclinical study on the impact of different preservation methods on the content of bioactive milk components. The cost analysis was performed from the hospital perspective. To estimate the Diagnosis-Related Group (DRG) tariff for enteral feeding with DHM preserved by HPP, the pricing process used by the Polish health technology assessment agency (Agencja Oceny Technologii Medycznych i Taryfikacji) was followed. One-way deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses on costs and human milk component parameters were undertaken.


HPP maintains an average of 55% more potentially beneficial DHM components than HoP, but is more expensive (€35 750 vs €5066). The DRG tariff relating to milk from human milk banks preserved by the HPP method should be about €54 (130%) higher than with HoP. The cost-effectiveness ratio ranged from €0.84 to €10.27 per 1% gain in the active compound content in a daily portion of DHM. Sensitivity analysis showed that the cost of an HPP device had the most significant impact on pascalization expenses.


HPP is a potentially more beneficial method of DHM preservation than HoP, but it is also about 7 times more expensive. Because of high pascalization costs, the cost-effectiveness analysis based on clinically significant endpoints will play an important role in decision making regarding the implementation of HPP into clinical practice of human milk banking.


Aleksandra Wesolowska Iwona Dobrowolska Elena Sinkiewicz-Darol Olga Barbarska Maciej Niewada Dominik Golicki

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