Comparative Cost-effectiveness of Trabeculectomy versus MicroShunt in the US Medicare System

Academic Article


  • Purpose: To assess the societal cost–utility of the MicroShunt compared with trabeculectomy for the surgical management of glaucoma in the US Medicare system. Design: Cost–utility analysis using efficacy and safety results of a randomized controlled trial and other pivotal clinical trials. Participants: Markov model cohort of patients with open-angle glaucoma. Methods: Open-angle glaucoma treatment costs and effects were analyzed with a deterministic model over a 1-year horizon using TreeAge software. Health states included the Hodapp–Parrish–Anderson glaucoma stages (mild, moderate, advanced, blind) and death. Both treatment arms received additional ocular hypotensive agents to control intraocular pressure (IOP). Treatment effect was measured as mean number of ocular hypotensive medications and reduction in IOP, which had a direct impact on transition probabilities between health states. Analyses of scenarios were performed with longer time horizons. One-way sensitivity and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess the impact of alternative model inputs. Both treatment arms were subject to reported complication rates, which were factored in the model. Main Outcome Measures: Incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained. Results: At 1 year, the MicroShunt had an expected cost of US dollars (USD) 6318 compared with USD 4260 for trabeculectomy. MicroShunt patients gained 0.85 QALYs compared with 0.86 QALYs for trabeculectomy, resulting in a dominated incremental cost–utility ratio of USD 187 680. Dominance is a health economic term used to describe a treatment option that is both more costly and less effective than the alternative. The MicroShunt remained dominant in 1-way sensitivity analyses using best-case input parameters (including a device fee of USD 0). At a willingness-to-pay threshold of USD 50 000, the likelihood of the MicroShunt being cost-effective was 6.4%. Dominance continued in longer time horizons, up to 20 years. Conclusions: Trabeculectomy appears to be a dominant treatment strategy over the MicroShunt in the surgical management of glaucoma. More independent, long-term studies are required for the MicroShunt and other subconjunctival microstent devices to evaluate their use in clinical practice.
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    Author List

  • Atik A; Fahy ET; Rhodes LA; Samuels BC; Mennemeyer ST; Girkin CA