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Sheeraz A. Qureshi, Steven McAnany, Vadim Goz, Steven M. Koehler and Andrew C. Hecht

Object

In recent years, there has been increased interest in the use of cervical disc replacement (CDR) as an alternative to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). While ACDF is a proven intervention for patients with myelopathy or radiculopathy, it does have inherent limitations. Cervical disc replacement was designed to preserve motion, avoid the limitations of fusion, and theoretically allow for a quicker return to activity. A number of recently published systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials have demonstrated positive clinical results for CDR, but no studies have revealed which of the 2 treatment strategies is more cost-effective. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of CDR and ACDF by using the power of decision analysis. Additionally, the authors aimed to identify the most critical factors affecting procedural cost and effectiveness and to define thresholds for durability and function to focus and guide future research.

Methods

The authors created a surgical decision model for the treatment of single-level cervical disc disease with associated radiculopathy. The literature was reviewed to identify possible outcomes and their likelihood following CDR and ACDF. Health state utility factors were determined from the literature and assigned to each possible outcome, and procedural effectiveness was expressed in units of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). Using ICD-9 procedure codes and data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the authors calculated the median cost of hospitalization by multiplying hospital charges by the hospital-specific cost-to-charge ratio. Gross physician costs were determined from the mean Medicare reimbursement for each current procedural terminology (CPT) code. Uncertainty as regards both cost and effectiveness numbers was assessed using sensitivity analysis.

Results

In the reference case, the model assumed a 20-year duration for the CDR prosthesis. Cervical disc replacement led to higher average QALYs gained at a lower cost to society if both strategies survived for 20 years ($3042/QALY for CDR vs $8760/QALY for ACDF). Sensitivity analysis revealed that CDR needed to survive at least 9.75 years to be considered a more cost-effective strategy than ACDF. Cervical disc replacement becomes an acceptable societal strategy as the prosthesis survival time approaches 11 years and the $50,000/QALY gained willingness-to-pay threshold is crossed. Sensitivity analysis also indicated that CDR must provide a utility state of at least 0.796 to be cost-effective.

Conclusions

Both CDR and ACDF were shown to be cost-effective procedures in the reference case. Results of the sensitivity analysis indicated that CDR must remain functional for at least 14 years to establish greater cost-effectiveness than ACDF. Since the current literature has yet to demonstrate with certainty the actual durability and long-term functionality of CDR, future long-term studies are required to validate the present analysis.

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Sheeraz Qureshi, Vadim Goz, Steven McAnany, Samuel K. Cho, Andrew C. Hecht, Rick B. Delamarter and Michael G. Fehlings

Object

Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of medical interventions has become increasingly relevant to the discussion of optimization of care. The use of utility scales in CEA permits a quantitative assessment of effectiveness of a given intervention. There are no published utility values for degenerative disc disease (DDD) of the cervical spine, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), or cervical disc replacement (CDR). The purpose of this study was to define health utility values for those health states.

Methods

The 36-Item Short Form Health Survey data from the ProDisc-C investigational device exemption study were obtained for single-level DDD at baseline and 24 months postoperatively after ACDF or CDR procedures. Patients in the original study were randomized to either ACDF or CDR. Utilizing a commercially available Short Form–6 dimensions program, utility scores were calculated for each health state using a set of parametric preference weights obtained from a sample of the general population using the recognized valuation technique of standard gamble.

Results

The baseline health state utility (HSU) value for a patient with single-level DDD was 0.54 in both the ACDF and CDR groups. Postoperative changes in HSU values were seen in both intervention groups at 24 months. Cervical disc replacement had a HSU value of 0.72. Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion was found to have a postoperative utility state of 0.71. No statistically significant difference was found in the HSU for ACDF and CDR at 24 months of follow-up.

Conclusions

This study represents the first calculated HSU value for a patient with single-level cervical DDD. Additionally, 2 common treatment interventions for this disease state were assessed. Both treatments were found to have significant impact on the HSU values. These values are integral to future CEA of ACDF and CDR.