Objectives: To present a cost-effectiveness analysis of sacral rhizotomies and electrical bladder stimulation compared with conventional care of neurogenic bladder dysfunction in patients with spinal cord injury.
Methods: During a 3-year inclusion period, data on costs and quality of life before the intervention were collected to describe conventional care. Data on the pre-implantation period, the implantation and a follow-up period of 2 years were collected following a strict protocol simultaneous with medical and urodynamic data and were used to calculate the costs and effects on quality of life of the implantation of the stimulator.
Results: Between June 1991 and June 1994, 52 patients with complete cervical or thoracic spinal cord lesions underwent sacral posterior rhizotomies and implantation of a Finetech-Brindley sacral anterior root stimulator. Although the initial costs of sacral anterior root stimulation are high, they are earned back in this series in about 8 years after the implantation. General indicators of the quality of life show no significant changes after the implantation. Factors related to psychological well-being and the patients' satisfaction with the emptying of the bladder increased significantly whereas the experienced problems of micturition and incontinence all decreased significantly.
Conclusion: Sacral rhizotomies and electrical bladder stimulation make a cost-effective method of treatment of lower urinary tract dysfunction in patients with spinal cord injury. Considerable savings on health care costs are possible in the long run with simultaneous positive effects on aspects of health status.
- Electrical bladder stimulation
- Sacral rhizotomy
- Spinal cord injury