Background: Primary spontaneous pneumothorax recurs frequently. Timing of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery to prevent recurrence is controversial and long-term costs remain inconclusive.
Methods: We constructed a Markov model to assess the effect of different timings for surgery on health status, costs, and cost effectiveness from the payers' perspective in Japan.
Results: During 1-year follow-up, the proportions of patients who underwent surgery after the first and second drainage were 46% and 36%, respectively. Average 1-year cost for surgery at the first episode was highest (U.S. dollars 6556), followed by the second (U.S. dollars 2988) and the third (U.S. dollars 2532). Incremental cost for surgery at the first episode compared with the second and that at the second episode compared with the third were U.S. dollars 30564 and U.S. dollars 29915 per quality-adjusted life year, respectively. Sensitivity analyses showed utility and length of hospital stay for surgery have the strongest effect on incremental cost.
Conclusions: Thoracoscopic surgery at the first episode significantly increased costs, but could be acceptable from a cost-effectiveness perspective.