Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:995–1003
We showed that ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt and lumboperitoneal (LP) shunt surgeries are beneficial for patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) in the Study of Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus on Neurological Improvement (SINPHONI; a multicenter prospective cohort study) and in SINPHONI-2 (a multicenter randomized trial). Although therapeutic efficacy is important, cost-effectiveness analysis is equally valuable.
Methods Using both a set of assumptions and using the data from SINPHONI and SINPHONI-2, we estimated the total cost of treatment for iNPH, which consists of medical expenses (e.g., operation fees) and costs to the long-term care insurance system (LCIS) in Japan. Regarding the natural course of iNPH patients, 10% or 20% of patients on each modified Rankin Scale (mRS) show aggravation (aggravation rate: 10% or 20%) every 3 months if the patients do not undergo shunt surgery, as described in a previous report. We performed cost-effectiveness analyses for the various scenarios, calculating the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) and the incremental cost-effective ratio (ICER). Then, based on the definition provided by a previous report, we assessed the cost-effectiveness of shunt surgery for iNPH.
Results In the first year after shunt surgery, the ICER of VP shunt varies from 29,934 to 40,742 USD (aggravation rate 10% and 20%, respectively) and the ICER of LP shunt varies from 58,346 to 80,392 USD (aggravation rate 10% and 20%, respectively), which indicates that the shunt surgery for iNPH is a cost-effective treatment. In the 2nd postoperative year, the cost to the LCIS will continue to decrease because of the lasting improvement of the symptoms due to the surgery. The total cost for iNPH patients will show a positive return on investment in as soon as 18 months (VP) and 21 months (LP), indicating that shunt surgery for iNPH is a cost-effective treatment.
Conclusions Because the total cost for iNPH patients will show a positive return on investment within 2 years, shunt surgery for iNPH is a cost-effective treatment and therefore recommended. The SINPHONI-2 study was registered with the University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials registry: UMIN000002730) SINPHONI was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, no. NCT00221091.