The cost-effectiveness of nonoperative management versus laparoscopic appendectomy for the treatment of acute, uncomplicated appendicitis in children

James X. Wu, Greg D. Sacks, Aaron J. Dawes, Daniel DeUgarte, Steven L. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Several studies have demonstrated the safety and short-term success of nonoperative management in children with acute, uncomplicated appendicitis. Nonoperative management spares the patients and their family the upfront cost and discomfort of surgery, but also risks recurrent appendicitis. Methods Using decision-tree software, we evaluated the cost-effectiveness of nonoperative management versus routine laparoscopic appendectomy. Model variables were abstracted from a review of the literature, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, and Medicare Physician Fee schedule. Model uncertainty was assessed using both one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. We used a $100,000 per quality adjusted life year (QALY) threshold for cost-effectiveness. Results Operative management cost $11,119 and yielded 23.56 quality-adjusted life months (QALMs). Nonoperative management cost $2277 less than operative management, but yielded 0.03 fewer QALMs. The incremental cost-to-effectiveness ratio of routine laparoscopic appendectomy was $910,800 per QALY gained. This greatly exceeds the $100,000/QALY threshold and was not cost-effective. One-way sensitivity analysis found that operative management would become cost-effective if the 1-year recurrence rate of acute appendicitis exceeded 39.8%. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis indicated that nonoperative management was cost-effective in 92% of simulations. Conclusions Based on our model, nonoperative management is more cost-effective than routine laparoscopic appendectomy for children with acute, uncomplicated appendicitis. Level of evidence Cost-Effectiveness Study: Level II

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1135-1140
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Volume52
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Keywords

  • Acute appendicitis
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Laparoscopic appendectomy
  • Nonoperative management
  • Pediatric

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