Background: Inadequate bowel preparation during screening colonoscopy necessitates repeating colonoscopy. Studies suggest inadequate bowel preparation rates of 20-60%. This increases the cost of colonoscopy for our society.
Aim: The aim of this study is to determine the impact of inadequate bowel preparation rate on the cost effectiveness of colonoscopy compared to other screening strategies for colorectal cancer (CRC).
Methods: A microsimulation model of CRC screening strategies for the general population at average risk for CRC. The strategies include fecal immunochemistry test (FIT) every year, colonoscopy every ten years, sigmoidoscopy every five years, or stool DNA test every 3 years. The screening could be performed at private practice offices, outpatient hospitals, and ambulatory surgical centers.
Results: At the current assumed inadequate bowel preparation rate of 25%, the cost of colonoscopy as a screening strategy is above society's willingness to pay (<$50,000/QALY). Threshold analysis demonstrated that an inadequate bowel preparation rate of 13% or less is necessary before colonoscopy is considered more cost effective than FIT. At inadequate bowel preparation rates of 25%, colonoscopy is still more cost effective compared to sigmoidoscopy and stool DNA test. Sensitivity analysis of all inputs adjusted by ±10% showed incremental cost effectiveness ratio values were influenced most by the specificity, adherence, and sensitivity of FIT and colonoscopy.
Conclusions: Screening colonoscopy is not a cost effective strategy when compared with fecal immunochemical test, as long as the inadequate bowel preparation rate is greater than 13%.