Purpose: This study describes the incremental healthcare costs associated with retreatment among adults undergoing ureteroscopy (URS) or percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) for upper urinary tract stones (UUTS).
Patients and methods: The IBM® MarketScan® Commercial Database was used to identify adults aged 18-64 years with UUTS treated with URS or PCNL between January 2010 and December 2019. Patients had 12 months of continuous insurance coverage before (baseline) and after (follow-up) the first (index) procedure. The primary outcome was total all-cause healthcare costs measured over the 365-day follow-up period, not inclusive of index costs. Generalized linear models were used to estimate the incremental costs associated with retreatment within 90 (early) or 91-365 days post-index (later) relative no retreatment. The models adjusted for demographics, comorbidities, stone(s) location, treatment setting, procedural characteristics (eg, 1-step vs 2-step PCNL) and index year.
Results: Approximately 23% (27,402/119,800) of URS patients were retreated (82% had early retreatments). The adjusted mean total cost was $10,478 (95% CI: $10,281-$10,675) for patients with no retreatment, $25,476 (95% CI: $24,947-$26,004) for early retreatment ($14,998 incremental increase, p<0.01), and $32,868 [95% CI: $31,887-$33,850] for later retreatment ($22,391 incremental increase, p<0.01). Approximately 36% (1957/5516) of PCNL patients were retreated (78% had early retreatments). The adjusted mean total cost was $13,446 (95% CI: $12,659-$14,273) for patients with no retreatment, $37,036 [95% CI: $34,926-$39,145]) for early retreatment ($23,570 incremental increase, p<0.01), and $35,359 (95% CI: $32,234-$38,484) for later retreatment ($21,893 incremental increase, p<0.01).
Conclusion: Retreatment during the first year following URS or PCNL was needed in 23% and 36% of patients, respectively, and was associated with an economic burden of up to $23,500 per patient. The high rate of retreatment and associated costs demonstrate there is an unmet need to improve mid- to long-term results in URS and PCNL.
Keywords: economic analysis; follow-up; kidney stone; post-procedure; urolithiasis.
© 2022 Johnston et al.