Guglielmi detachable coil embolization for unruptured aneurysms in nonsurgical candidates: A cost-effectiveness exploration

David F. Kallmes, Michelle H. Kallmes, Harry J. Cloft, Jacques E. Dion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: We calculated the incremental cost-utility ratio for Guglielmi detachable coil (GDC) embolization versus no therapy for unruptured intracranial aneurysms considered inappropriate for surgical clipping procedures. METHODS: Decision tree and Markov analyses that employ cohort simulation were applied to determine the incremental cost-utility ratio of GDC embolization versus no therapy for unruptured cerebral aneurysms. Clinical values required as input data were estimated from the literature for the following variables: relative frequencies of complete aneurysmal occlusion, partial aneurysmal occlusion, and attempted coiling (no coils detached); morbidity and mortality of GDC embolization; frequency, morbidity, and mortality of spontaneous aneurysmal rupture in untreated and GDC- embolized aneurysms; annual rate of recanalization of GDC-embolized aneurysms; quality of life when knowingly living with untreated or GDG- embolized aneurysms and of living with fixed neurologic deficit; costs of GDC embolization, spontaneous aneurysmal rupture, stroke, and rehabilitation; and discount rate. Cost-utility ratios below $50 000 per quality-adjusted life year saved were considered acceptable. Sensitivity analyses were performed for all relevant input variables. RESULTS: Baseline input values resulted in acceptable cost-utility ratios for GDC embolization of unruptured intracranial aneurysms. These ratios remained within acceptable limits across wide ranges of various input parameters. Cost-effectiveness was markedly affected by the natural course of unruptured, untreated aneurysms; rates of spontaneous rupture greater than 2% per year resulted in favorable cost- utility ratios that were relatively unaffected by variation in GDC efficacy, while rates of rupture less than 1% per year resulted in unfavorable ratios that were highly dependent on GDC efficacy. Many of the GDC efficacy indexes, such as rate of failed coiling, early recanalization, and progressive aneurysmal thrombosis, have mild effects on the cost-utility ratios. GDC complication rate as well as life expectancy had moderate effects on the analysis. The influence of late aneurysmal recanalization was mild unless high rates of rupture for partially coiled aneurysms were applied. Suboptimal clip placement resulting from the presence of GDC coils within a ruptured aneurysm had no demonstrable consequence on cost-utility ratios. CONCLUSIONS: The single most influential variable determining the cost-effectiveness of GDC embolization in our analysis was the natural course of untreated aneurysms. Other important variables included GDC-related morbidity and life expectancy at the time of GDC embolization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-176
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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