A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET) Compared with Circumferential Lumbar Fusion

Eugena Stamuli, Withawin Kesornsak, Michael P Grevitt, John Posnett, Karl Claxton

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STUDY DESIGN: Cost-effectiveness analysis.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) relative to circumferential lumbar fusion with femoral ring allograft (FRA) in UK.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Circumferential lumbar fusion is an established treatment for discogenic low back pain. However, IDET could be a cost-effective treatment alternative as it can be carried out as a day case.

METHODS: Patient-level data were available for patients with discogenic low back pain treated with FRA (n=37) in a randomized trial of FRA vs titanium cage, and for patients recruited to a separate study evaluating the use of IDET (n=85). Both studies were carried out at a single institution in the UK. Patients were followed-up for 24 months, with data collected on low back disability (Oswestry Disability Index), back and leg pain (visual analogue scale), quality of life (SF-36), radiographic evaluations, and NHS resource use. Cost-effectiveness was measured by the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained.

RESULTS: Both treatments produced statistically significant improvements in outcome at 24-month follow-up. NHS costs were significantly lower with IDET due to a shorter mean procedure time (377.4 minutes vs 49.9 minutes) and length of stay (7 days vs 1.2 days). At a threshold of £20,000 per QALY, the probability that IDET is cost-effective is high.

CONCLUSIONS: Both treatments led to significant improvements in patient outcomes which were sustained for at least 24 months. Costs were lower with IDET, and for appropriate patients IDET is an effective and cost-effective treatment alternative. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPain practice : the official journal of World Institute of Pain
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2017

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