Cost-Effective by Any Definition: Response to "Cost-Effectiveness in Otolaryngology," from Mark G. Shrime

Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (Impact Factor: 2.02). 07/2012; 147(1):181. DOI: 10.1177/0194599812446790
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Postoperative hypocalcemia is the most common complication after thyroidectomy; prevention and treatment remain areas of ongoing debate. The purpose of this study was to determine the incremental cost utility of routine versus selective calcium and vitamin D supplementation after total or completion thyroidectomy. A cost-utility analysis using a Markov decision model was performed for a hypothetical cohort of adult patients after thyroidectomy. Routine or selective supplementation of oral calcium carbonate, vitamin D (calcitriol), and intravenous calcium gluconate, when required, was used. Selective supplementation was determined by serum intact parathyroid hormone levels. The incremental cost utility, measured in U.S. dollars per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY), was calculated. In the base-case analysis, the cost of routine supplementation was $102 versus $164 for selective supplementation. Patients in the routine arm gained 0.002 QALYs compared to patients in the selective arm (0.95936 QALYs vs. 0.95725 QALYs). At the population level, this translates into a savings of $29,365/QALY (95% confidence interval, -$66,650 to -$1,772) for routine supplementation. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that the model was most sensitive to the utility of the hypocalcemic state, postoperative rates of hypocalcemia, and cost of serum parathyroid hormone testing. Routine oral calcium and calcitriol supplementation in patients after thyroidectomy seems to be less expensive and results in higher patient utility than selective supplementation. Surgeons who have very low rates of hypocalcemia in their patients may benefit less from routine supplementation.
    Annals of Surgical Oncology 11/2010; 18(5):1293-9. DOI:10.1245/s10434-010-1437-x · 3.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hypocalcemia is one of the principal complications of total or completion thyroidectomy. A number of different protocols for managing this potential complication have been published. Our simple postoperative regimen is described and the safety and cost-effectiveness assessed. Case series with planned data collection. Academic medical center. All patients undergoing total or completion thyroidectomy from January 2008 through June 2010 were evaluated. Data collected included age; gender; procedure performed; levels of ionized calcium, parathyroid hormone, and vitamin D; complications; and need for readmission. Standard descriptive statistics were used to summarize these data. In total, 526 patients had thyroid surgery during the 30-month study period. Of these, 307 underwent completion or total thyroidectomy and were prescribed a 3-week tapering course of calcium carbonate postoperatively. Twenty-three patients (7.5%) experienced symptoms of hypocalcemia that were managed on an outpatient basis with additional doses of oral calcium. Two patients (0.7%) required readmission. The cost of a 3-week regimen of calcium carbonate is approximately $15. This is considerably less expensive than either the cost of overnight admission or published laboratory protocols that are designed to predict the risk of hypocalcemia. Prophylactic calcium supplementation without routine laboratory assessment proved to be a safe and cost-effective method of preventing and managing postoperative hypocalcemia following total or completion thyroidectomy.
    Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery 03/2012; 146(3):362-5. DOI:10.1177/0194599811433557 · 2.02 Impact Factor