Cost-effectiveness analysis of preloaded versus non-preloaded Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty for the treatment of Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy in an academic centre. Br J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract.
AIMS: To determine the cost-effectiveness of preloaded Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (pDMEK) versus non-preloaded DMEK (n-pDMEK) for the treatment of Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD). METHODS: From a societal and healthcare perspective, this retrospective cost-effectiveness analysis analysed a cohort of 58 patients with FECD receiving pDMEK (n=38) or n-pDMEK (n=30) from 2016 to 2018 in the Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. Exclusion criteria were previous ocular surgeries (other than uncomplicated cataract surgery), including other keratoplasty procedures, ocular pathological conditions as glaucoma, amblyopia, laser treatments, or any retinal or corneal disease. The main outcome parameters were the incremental cost-utility ratio (ICUR) and net monetary benefit (NMB). RESULTS: pDMEK was less costly compared with n-pDMEK (healthcare: $13 886 vs $15 329; societal: $20 805 vs $22 262), with a slighter greater utility (QALY 0.6682 vs QALY 0.6640) over a time horizon of 15 years. pDMEK offered a slightly higher clinical effectiveness (+0.0042 QALY/patient) at a lower cost (healthcare: -$1444 per patient; societal: -$1457 per patient) in improving visual acuity in this cohort of patients with FECD. pDMEK achieved a favourable ICUR and NMB compared with n-pDMEK. Based on sensitivity analyses performed, the economic model was robust. CONCLUSIONS: From the societal and healthcare perspective, pDMEK was less costly and generated comparable utility values relative to n-pDMEK. Therefore, pDMEK appears to be cost-effective and cost saving with respect to n-pDMEK. Further long-term follow-up data are needed to confirm these findings.