A cost utility analysis of treatment options for gallstone disease: Methodological issues and results

Johanna Cook, Jeff Richardson, Andrew Street

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The techniques of cost utility analysis (CUA) were used to evaluate the treatment of gallstone disease by open and laparoscopic cholecystectomy and by extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL). The application of the techniques in this context raised three methodological questions which are not satisfactorily resolved in the literature. The first is whether an ex ante or ex post perspective is best adopted for the measurement of quality of life (QoL). The second is the method for converting a short term deterioration in QoL followed by full health into QALYs and the reliability of the methods available. The third is the issue of indirect costs which, in the context of a temporary disease state, cannot be easily avoided. The economic evaluation found laparoscopic cholecystectomy to be generally superior than the competitor technologies (entailing lower costs and better outcomes). However, the results were sensitive to assumptions about the perspective for measuring benefits and the inclusion of indirect costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-168
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost utility analysis
  • extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy
  • laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • QoL

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