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Pediatrics. 1994 Mar;93(3):353-63.

Theoretical cost effectiveness of management options for children with persisting middle ear effusions.

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1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this theoretical study is to assess the cost effectiveness of options involving observation, antibiotics alone, corticosteroids alone, corticosteroids plus antibiotics, and surgery to clear persisting middle ear effusions during three visits.

METHODOLOGY:

In a hypothetical case the expected average per patient expenditures are calculated using the efficacy rates determined by the meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials involving corticosteroids plus an antibiotic (six trials), corticosteroids alone (three trials), and antibiotic alone (four trials). In this analysis, all children whose bilateral middle ear effusions persist for 12 weeks despite medical management are referred for ventilating tubes.

RESULTS:

The most cost-effective intervention combination is corticosteroid plus an antibiotic at visit 1 (6 weeks after diagnosis of acute otitis media) followed by a second antibiotic in nonresponders at visit 2 (9 weeks after diagnosis of acute otitis media) and referral for ventilating tubes in nonresponders at visit 3 (12 weeks after diagnosis of acute otitis media). The expected average expenditures per case to clear the bilateral middle ear effusions is $600.91 based on reimbursement of private practice charges and $350.27 based on Medicaid reimbursement (all payments to providers are based on 1992 data from Colorado). The difference in the expected average total expenditures per case between this most cost-effective approach versus the use of sequential courses of antibiotics followed by surgery is $372.81 ($973.72-$600.91) with full reimbursement of private practice charges and $202.57 ($552.84-$350.27) with Medicaid reimbursement. In clearing the middle ear effusion, the average estimated travel expenses per case is $21.46, and lost parental wages per case are $45.12. When the expenditures associated with an additional 6-month follow-up period are included, the expected average per case expenditures is $1088.54 with reimbursement of private practice charges and @659.00 with Medicaid reimbursement. The difference in the expected average per case expenditures to clear the effusions and follow-up for 6 months between the most cost-effective approach using corticosteroids plus antibiotics at the 6- and 9-week visits followed by surgery in nonresponders at 12 weeks versus sequential courses of antibiotics is $405.30 ($1493.84-$1088.54) with reimbursement of private practice charges and $217.32 ($876.32-$659.00) with Medicaid reimbursement.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Although the analysis does not consider risks, side effects, and parental or provider preferences, the findings suggest that the implementation of cost-effective clinical guidelines can potentially reduce national expenditures for managing persistent middle ear effusions.

PMID:
8115191
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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