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Comparative Cost Effectiveness of Reflux-Based and Reflux-Independent Strategies for Barrett's Esophagus Screening.

Sami SS, Moriarty JP, Rosedahl JK, Borah BJ, Katzka DA, Wang KK, Kisiel JB, Ragunath K, Rubenstein JH, Iyer PG. Comparative Cost Effectiveness of Reflux-Based and Reflux-Independent Strategies for Barrett's Esophagus Screening. The American journal of gastroenterology. 2021 Aug 1; 116(8):1620-1631.

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INTRODUCTION: Minimally invasive tests for Barrett''s esophagus (BE) detection have raised the prospect of broader nonreflux-based testing. Cost-effectiveness studies have largely studied men aged 50 years with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms. We evaluated the comparative cost effectiveness of BE screening tests in GERD-based and GERD-independent testing scenarios. METHODS: Markov modeling was performed in 3 scenarios in 50 years old individuals: (i) White men with chronic GERD (GERD-based); (ii) GERD-independent (all races, men and women), BE prevalence 1.6%; and (iii) GERD-independent, BE prevalence 5%. The simulation compared multiple screening strategies with no screening: sedated endoscopy (sEGD), transnasal endoscopy, swallowable esophageal cell collection devices with biomarkers, and exhaled volatile organic compounds. A hypothetical cohort of 500,000 individuals followed for 40 years using a willingness to pay threshold of $100,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) was simulated. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) comparing each strategy with no screening and comparing screening strategies with each other were calculated. RESULTS: In both GERD-independent scenarios, most non-sEGD BE screening tests were cost effective. Swallowable esophageal cell collection devices with biomarkers were cost effective ( < $35,000/QALY) and were the optimal screening tests in all scenarios. Exhaled volatile organic compounds had the highest ICERs in all scenarios. ICERs were low ( < $25,000/QALY) for all tests in the GERD-based scenario, and all non-sEGD tests dominated no screening. ICERs were sensitive to BE prevalence and test costs. DISCUSSION: Minimally invasive nonendoscopic tests may make GERD-independent BE screening cost effective. Participation rates for these strategies need to be studied.

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