Laparoscopic Versus Open Cholecystectomy: A Cost–Effectiveness Analysis at Rwanda Military Hospital
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is first-line treatment for uncomplicated gallstone disease in high-income countries due to benefits such as shorter hospital stays, reduced morbidity, more rapid return to work, and lower mortality as well-being considered cost-effective. However, there persists a lack of uptake in low- and middle-income countries. Thus, there is a need to evaluate laparoscopic cholecystectomy in comparison with an open approach in these settings.
A cost–effectiveness analysis was performed to evaluate laparoscopic and open cholecystectomies at Rwanda Military Hospital (RMH), a tertiary care referral hospital in Rwanda. Sensitivity and threshold analyses were performed to determine the robustness of the results.
The laparoscopic and open cholecystectomy costs and effectiveness values were $2664.47 with 0.87 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and $2058.72 with 0.75 QALYs, respectively. The incremental cost–effectiveness ratio for laparoscopic over open cholecystectomy was $4946.18. Results are sensitive to the initial laparoscopic equipment investment and number of cases performed annually but robust to other parameters. The laparoscopic intervention is more cost-effective with investment costs less than $91,979, greater than 65 cases annually, or at willingness-to-pay (WTP) thresholds greater than $3975/QALY.
At RMH, while laparoscopic cholecystectomy may be a more effective approach, it is also more expensive given the low caseload and high investment costs. At commonly accepted WTP thresholds, it is not cost-effective. However, as investment costs decrease and/or case volume increases, the laparoscopic approach may become favorable. Countries and hospitals should aspire to develop innovative, low-cost options in high volume to combat these barriers and provide laparoscopic surgery.
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