Background: Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be effectively treated pharmacologically or surgically. As GERD is often a chronic condition, we compared the long-term costs of medical and surgical management.
Methods: The medical regimens were ranitidine (150 or 300 mg/day), omeprazole (20 or 40 mg/day), and lansoprazole (30 mg/day), with costs calculated for total life expectancy after diagnosis and for one-third of that time. Costs for open or laparoscopic surgery (Nissen fundoplication) included pre- and post-operative investigations, sick leave, and calculated financial loss due to fatal outcome.
Results: Costs were lowest with ranitidine, 150 mg/day, for one-third of the patient's lifetime and highest with lifelong omeprazole, 40 mg/daily. The cost of open or laparoscopic operation was less than that of lifelong daily treatment with proton pump inhibitors or ranitidine, 300 mg daily.
Conclusion: In Finland, antireflux surgery for GERD is cheaper than lifetime treatment with proton pump inhibitors.