The cost-effectiveness of transvaginal hydrolaparoscopy versus hysterosalpingography in the work-up for subfertility

M. A. van Kessel, C. T. Pham, R. Tros, G. J.E. Oosterhuis, W. K.H. Kuchenbecker, M. Y. Bongers, B. W.J. Mol, C. A.M. Koks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

STUDY QUESTION: Is a strategy starting with transvaginal hydrolaparoscopy (THL) cost-effective compared to a strategy starting with hysterosalpingography (HSG) in the work-up for subfertility? SUMMARY ANSWER: A strategy starting with THL is cost-effective compared to a strategy starting with HSG in the work-up for subfertile women. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Tubal pathology is a common cause of subfertility and tubal patency testing is one of the cornerstones of the fertility work-up. Both THL and HSG are safe procedures and can be used as a first-line tubal patency test. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This economic evaluation was performed alongside a randomized clinical trial comparing THL and HSG in 300 subfertile women, between May 2013 and October 2016. For comparisons of THL and HSG, the unit costs were split into three main categories: costs of the diagnostic procedure, costs of fertility treatments and the costs for pregnancy outcomes. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Subfertile women scheduled for tubal patency testing were eligible. Women were randomized to a strategy starting with THL or a strategy starting with HSG. The primary outcome of the study was conception leading to a live birth within 24 months after randomization. The mean costs and outcomes for each treatment group were compared. We used a non-parametric bootstrap resampling of 1000 re-samples to investigate the effect of uncertainty and we created a cost-effectiveness plane and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: We allocated 149 women to THL and 151 to HSG, and we were able to achieve complete follow-up of 142 versus 148 women, respectively. After the fertility work-up women were treated according to the Dutch guidelines and based on a previously published prognostic model. In the THL group, 83 women (58.4%) conceived a live born child within 24 months after randomization compared to 82 women (55.4%) in the HSG group (difference 3.0% (95% CI: ̶8.3 to 14.4)). The mean total costs per woman were lower in the THL group compared to the HSG group (THL group e4991 versus e5262 in the HSG group, mean cost difference ¼ ̶e271 (95% CI ̶e273 to ̶e269)). Although the costs of only the diagnostic procedure were higher in the THL group, in the HSG group more women underwent diagnostic and therapeutic laparoscopies and also had higher costs for fertility treatments. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Our trial was conducted in women with a low risk of tubal pathology; therefore, the results of our study are not generalizable to women with high risk of tubal pathology. Furthermore, this economic analysis was based on the Dutch healthcare system, and possibly our results are not generalizable to countries with different strategies or costs for fertility treatments. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: After 2 years of follow-up, we found a live birth rate of 58.4% in the THL group versus 55.4% in the HSG group and a lower mean cost per woman in the THL group, with a cost difference of ̶e271. The findings of our trial suggest that a strategy starting with THL is cost-effective compared to a strategy starting with HSG in the workup for subfertile women. However, the cost difference between the two diagnostic strategies is limited compared to the total cost per woman in our study and before implementing THL as a first-line strategy for tubal patency testing, more research in other fields, such as patient preference and acceptance, is necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2768-2776
Number of pages9
JournalHuman reproduction (Oxford, England)
Volume37
Issue number12
Early online date12 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • cost-effectiveness
  • fallopian tubes
  • fertiloscopy
  • hysterosalpingography
  • transvaginal hydrolaparoscopy
  • tubal patency test

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