Author(s): Zhang J, Shi Q, Wang GZ, Wang F, Jiang N
INTRODUCTION: It was the aim of this study to compare the efficiency and safety between shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) and ureteroscopic holmium laser lithotripsy (URL) methods for ureteral calculi while also determining which option is more cost-effective.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: During January 2008 to September 2009, a prospective randomized study was conducted to compare both modalities for the management of solitary radiopaque ureteral stones. Patient and stone characteristics, treatment outcome and charges were documented. Both options were compared using univariate statistical tests to identify the efficiency quotient and cost-effectiveness for ureteral calculi according to the stone location.
RESULTS: A total of 257 patients were in the SWL group, while 269 were in the URL group. The efficiency quotients for SWL and URL were 0.81 and 0.88, respectively. The initial stone-free rate of URL for lower ureteral calculi was higher (p = 0.002), while the complication rate of SWL for upper ureteral calculi was lower (p = 0.027). The SWL group required lower hospitalization charges (USD 440 vs. 1,221; p < 0.001), lower total charges (USD 454 vs. 1,284; p < 0.001) and a shorter period of hospitalization (5.4 vs. 6.6 days; p < 0.001) compared with the URL group for all ureteral locations. For mid and lower ureteral calculi, the postoperative office visits of the URL group were fewer (1.03 vs. 1.1 times; p = 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Primary in situ SWL for upper and middle ureteral calculi showed lower complication rates compared to URL and was more cost-effective in Eastern China. However, primary URL was a better option for treating lower ureteral stones with a higher stone-free rate but was more expensive.Medical & Surgical Urology