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Trial-based cost-effectiveness analysis of ultrathin Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (UT-DSAEK) versus DSAEK.

Acta Ophthalmol 2019, vol. 97, issue 8


To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of ultrathin Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (UT-DSAEK) versus standard DSAEK.


A cost-effectiveness analysis using data from a multicentre randomized clinical trial was performed. The time horizon was 12 months postoperatively. Sixty-four eyes of 64 patients with Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy were included and randomized to UT-DSAEK (n = 33) or DSAEK (n = 31). Relevant resources from healthcare and societal perspectives were included in the cost analysis. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were determined using the Health Utilities Index Mark 3 questionnaire. The main outcome was the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER; incremental societal costs per QALY).


Societal costs were €9431 (US$11 586) for UT-DSAEK and €9110 (US$11 192) for DSAEK. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were 0.74 in both groups. The ICER indicated inferiority of UT-DSAEK. The cost-effectiveness probability ranged from 37% to 42%, assuming the maximum acceptable ICER ranged from €2500-€80 000 (US$3071-US$98 280) per QALY. Additional analyses were performed omitting one UT-DSAEK patient who required a regraft [ICER €9057 (US$11 127) per QALY, cost-effectiveness probability: 44-62%] and correcting QALYs for an imbalance in baseline utilities [ICER €23 827 (US$29 271) per QALY, cost-effectiveness probability: 36-59%]. Furthermore, the ICER was €2101 (US$2581) per patient with clinical improvement in best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (≥0.2 logMAR) and €3274 (US$4022) per patient with clinical improvement in National Eye Institute Visual Functioning Questionnaire-25 composite score (≥10 points).


The base case analysis favoured DSAEK, since costs of UT-DSAEK were higher while QALYs were comparable. However, additional analyses revealed no preference for UT-DSAEK or DSAEK. Further cost-effectiveness studies are required to reduce uncertainty.

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