alexa Cost-effectiveness v patient preference in the choice of treatment for distal ureteral calculi: a literature-based decision analysis


Medical & Surgical Urology

Author(s): Wolf JS Jr, Carroll PR, Stoller ML

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Ureteroscopy (URS) and extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) battle for supremacy in the management distal ureteral calculi. In order to clarify issues surrounding this controversy, we created a decision tree modeling URS or SWL with literature-based probabilities and used as endpoints both cost and patient preferences. Ureteroscopy was more successful than single-session or multiple-session SWL, 92.1% v 74.3% or 84.5%, and had a lower retreatment/complication rate. Although initial SWL was only slightly more expensive than URS, $4,420 v $4,337, the difference increased when the additional costs of complications and retreatment were calculated, $6,745 v $5,555. Using values for an "average" patient, SWL was preferred to URS in terms of patient satisfaction. The most important factors distinguishing between URS and SWL were the success of treatment, the cost of initial therapy, and patient attitudes toward unplanned ancillary procedures and retreatment. Although no alteration of success rates and cost figures within reasonable ranges made URS less cost-effective than SWL, individual differences in patients' aversion for complications allowed URS to be preferred to SWL in some situations. Therefore, SWL is less cost-effective than URS and is not necessarily preferred by patients. The physician should be aware of the principal determinants of the choice between URS and SWL treatment of distal ureteral calculi.

This article was published in J Endourol and referenced in Medical & Surgical Urology

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