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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999 Aug;11(8):851-6.

Endoscopy for Helicobacter pylori sero-negative young dyspeptic patients: an economic evaluation based on a randomized trial.

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Department of Gastroenterology, St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK.



A policy of withholding endoscopy in Helicobacter pylori sero-negative dyspeptic patients without sinister symptoms saves up to 36% of endoscopies. However, it is unclear whether the net cost of applying this policy outweighs that of conventional management.


To determine the direct (healthcare) and indirect (productivity) costs of applying a strategy of endoscopy versus no endoscopy in H. pylori sero-negative young dyspeptics in the UK.


The direct and indirect incremental costs for both strategies were calculated amongst 154 H. pylori seronegative subjects randomized to have an endoscopy or no endoscopy before subsequent management by their general practitioners. The cost per patient of each strategy was calculated using reference values in our clinical setting and sensitivity analysis was used to test different scenarios.


The total direct cost rose for the endoscopy group (mean Pound Sterling 103, 95% CI 78 to 127) but did not change for the non-endoscopy group (mean Pound Sterling 6, 95% CI -32 to 44). On average, direct (healthcare) costs for patients in the endoscopy group rose by Pound Sterling 96 (95% CI 51 to 142) more than those for non-endoscopy patients. Indirect (productivity) cost fell for the non-endoscopy group (mean -Pound Sterling 40, 95% CI -220 to 140) compared to a rise for the endoscopy group (mean Pound Sterling 180, 95% CI -60 to 420) (difference not significant). The total cost (including direct and indirect costs) fell for the non-endoscopy group (mean -Pound Sterling 34, 95% CI -228 to 160) but rose for the endoscopy group (mean Pound Sterling 283, 95% CI 32 to 533)--an incremental cost of Pound Sterling 317 (95% CI 0 to 634). For all assumptions in the sensitivity analysis, the mean cost in the endoscopy group was at least Pound Sterling 200 higher than in the non-endoscopy group.


It is less expensive to manage H. pylori-negative dyspeptic patients aged under 45 without sinister symptoms by withholding endoscopy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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