Do cost limitations of extended prophylaxis after surgery apply to ulcerative colitis patients?

Ira L. Leeds, Joseph K. Canner, Sandra R. DiBrito, Bashar Safar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Colorectal surgery patients with ulcerative colitis are at increased risk of postoperative venous thromboembolism. Extended prophylaxis for thromboembolism prevention has been used in colorectal surgery patients, but it has been criticized for its lack of cost-effectiveness. However, the cost-effectiveness of extended prophylaxis for postoperative ulcerative colitis patients may be unique. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess the cost-effectiveness of extended prophylaxis in postoperative ulcerative colitis patients. DESIGN: A decision analysis compared costs and benefits in postoperative ulcerative colitis patients with and without extended prophylaxis over a lifetime horizon. SETTING: Assumptions for decision analysis were identified from available literature for a typical ulcerative colitis patient’s risk of thrombosis, age at surgery, type of thrombosis, prophylaxis risk reduction, bleeding complications, and mortality. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Costs ($) and benefits (quality-adjusted life year) reflected a societal perspective and were time-discounted at 3%. Costs and benefits were combined to produce the main outcome measure, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio ($ per quality-adjusted life year). Multivariable probabilistic sensitivity analysis modeled uncertainty in probabilities, costs, and disutilities. RESULTS: Using reference parameters, the individual expected societal total cost of care was $957 without and $1775 with prophylaxis (not cost-effective; $257,280 per quality-adjusted life year). Preventing a single mortality with prophylaxis would cost $5 million (number needed to treat: 6134 individuals). Adjusting across a range of scenarios upheld these conclusions 77% of the time. With further sensitivity testing, venous thromboembolism cumulative risk (>1.5%) and ePpx regimen pricing (<$299) were the 2 parameters most sensitive to uncertainty. LIMITATIONS: Recommendations of decision analysis methodology are limited to group decision-making, not an individual risk profile. CONCLUSION: Routine ePpx in postoperative ulcerative colitis patients is not cost-effective. This finding is sensitive to higher-than-average rates of venous thromboembolism and low-cost prophylaxis opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-712
Number of pages11
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Decision trees
  • Economic evaluation
  • Surgery
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Venous thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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