Background: Persons with chronic esophageal reflux are at increased risk for the development of Barrett's esophagus and adenocarcinoma. Recently developed ultrathin endoscopes are less expensive and better tolerated than standard endoscopes, they can be used without sedation, and are sensitive and specific for Barrett's esophagus. The cost-effectiveness of one-time screening strategies were evaluated for 50-year-old patients with chronic reflux: no screening, standard endoscopy, and screening by an ultrathin endoscope. Methods: Markov models were created to simulate the clinical course for patients with chronic reflux. Costs and quality-adjusted life-years were estimated from cancer registry data, published medical data, and expert opinion. Results: Under baseline assumptions, no screening resulted in average costs of $11,785 per person and 19.3226 quality-adjusted life-years. Ultrathin endoscopy screening resulted in costs of $12,119 per person and 19.3326 quality-adjusted life-years, yielding a marginal cost-effectiveness ratio of $55,764 per quality-adjusted life-year. Using standard endoscopy yielded costs of $12,332 with only slightly greater effectiveness, yielding a marginal cost-effectiveness ratio of $709,260 when compared with ultrathin endoscopy and $86,833 compared with no screening. Results were most sensitive to variation in the incidence of cancer in the population with Barrett's esophagus. Conclusions: Screening for Barrett's esophagus with ultrathin endoscopy is more cost-effective than standard endoscopy, and both strategies appear to improve quality-adjusted life-years among patients with chronic reflux at costs that are similar to those of other accepted preventive measures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging