Cost effectiveness of endoscopic gallbladder drainage to treat acute cholecystitis in poor surgical candidates

Juan E. Corral, Ananya Das, Paul T. Krӧner, Victoria Gomez, Michael B. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Endoscopic gallbladder drainage (GBD) is an alternative to percutaneous GBD (PGBD) to treat acute cholecystitis, yielding similar success rates and fewer adverse events. To our knowledge, no cost-effectiveness analysis has compared these procedures. We performed an economic analysis to identify clinical and cost determinants of three treatment options for acute cholecystitis in poor surgical candidates. Methods: We compared three treatment strategies: PGBD, endoscopic retrograde cholangiographic transpapillary drainage (ERC-GBD), and endosonographic GBD (EUS-GBD). A decision tree was created over a 3-month period. Effectiveness was measured using hospital length of stay, including adverse events and readmissions. Costs of care were calculated from the National Inpatient Sample. Technical and clinical success estimates were obtained from the published literature. Cost effectiveness was measured as incremental cost effectiveness and compared to the national average cost of one hospital bed per diem. Results: Analysis of a hypothetical cohort of poor candidates for cholecystectomy showed that, compared to PGBD, ERC-GBD was a cost-saving strategy and EUS-GBD was cost effective, requiring $1312 per hospitalization day averted. Additional costs of endoscopic interventions were less than the average cost of one hospital bed per diem. Compared to ERC-GBD, EUS-GBD required expending an additional $8950 to prevent one additional day of hospitalization. Our model was considerably affected by lumen-apposing metal stent cost and hospital length of stay for patients managed conservatively and those requiring delayed surgery. Conclusions: Endoscopic GBD is cost effective compared to PGBD, favoring ERC-GBD over EUS-GBD. Further efforts are needed to make endoscopic GBD available in more medical centers, reduce equipment costs, and shorten inpatient stay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3567-3577
Number of pages11
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Acute cholecystitis
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Gallbladder drainage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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