BMJ 2004 Jan 7;328(7432):134. Epub 2004 Jan 7.
Centre for Health Economics, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD.
Objective: To assess the cost effectiveness of laparoscopic hysterectomy compared with conventional hysterectomy (abdominal or vaginal).
Design: Cost effectiveness analysis based on two parallel trials: laparoscopic (n = 324) compared with vaginal hysterectomy (n = 163); and laparoscopic (n = 573) compared with abdominal hysterectomy (n = 286).
Participants: 1346 women requiring a hysterectomy for reasons other than malignancy.
Main Outcome Measure: One year costs estimated from NHS perspective. Health outcomes expressed in terms of QALYs based on women's responses to the EQ-5D at baseline and at three points during up to 52 weeks' follow up.
Results: Laparoscopic hysterectomy cost an average of 401 pounds sterling (708 dollars; 571 euros) more (95% confidence interval 271 pounds sterling to 542 pounds sterling) than vaginal hysterectomy but produced little difference in mean QALYs (0.0015, -0.015 to 0.018). Mean differences in cost and QALYs generated an incremental cost per QALY gained of 267 333 pounds sterling (471 789 dollars; 380 437 euros). The probability that laparoscopic hysterectomy is cost effective was below 50% for a large range of values of willingness to pay for an additional QALY. Laparoscopic hysterectomy cost an average of 186 pounds sterling (328 dollars; 265 euros) more than abdominal hysterectomy, although 95% confidence intervals crossed zero (-26 pounds sterling to 375 pounds sterling); there was little difference in mean QALYs (0.007, -0.008 to 0.023), resulting in an incremental cost per QALY gained of 26 571 pounds sterling (46 893 dollars; 37 813 euros). If the NHS is willing to pay 30 000 pounds sterling for an additional QALY, the probability that laparoscopic hysterectomy is cost effective is 56%.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic hysterectomy is not cost effective relative to vaginal hysterectomy. Its cost effectiveness relative to the abdominal procedure is finely balanced.