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Comparative Study
. 2004 Jun;99(6):1023-8.
doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2004.30891.x.

Re-examination of the Cost-Effectiveness of Surgical Versus Medical Therapy in Patients With Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: The Value of Long-Term Data Collection

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Comparative Study

Re-examination of the Cost-Effectiveness of Surgical Versus Medical Therapy in Patients With Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: The Value of Long-Term Data Collection

Miguel R Arguedas et al. Am J Gastroenterol. .

Abstract

Objectives: For patients with reflux esophagitis, long-term therapeutic options include proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy and/or antireflux surgery. An earlier cost-effectiveness analysis concluded that at 5 yr, medical therapy was less expensive but similarly effective to fundoplication, but the results were sensitive to estimates on quality of life and long-term medication usage, which were derived from "expert opinion." Recently, data from randomized controlled trials addressing these variables have become available. We have incorporated these new data into a revised Markov model to examine the cost-effectiveness of surgical versus medical therapy in patients with severe reflux esophagitis.

Methods: A Markov simulation model was constructed using specialized software (DATA PRO 4.0, Williamstown, MA). Total expected costs and quality-adjusted life-years were calculated for long-term medical therapy and for laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. Probabilities were obtained from the medical literature using Medline. Procedural and hospitalization costs used were the average Medicare reimbursements at our institution. Medication costs were the average wholesale price. The analysis was extended over a 10-yr time horizon at a discount rate of 3%.

Results: The discounted analysis shows that medical therapy is associated with total costs of 8,798 dollars and 4.59 quality-adjusted life-years, whereas the surgical strategy is more expensive (10,475 dollars) and less effective (4.55 quality-adjusted life-years). The results were robust to most one-way sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions: Long-term medical therapy with proton pump inhibitors is the preferred strategy for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease and severe esophagitis. Our study highlights the importance of using primary, patient-derived data rather than expert opinion.

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