PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate clinical outcomes, quality-adjusted life-years, and the cost-effectiveness gained from percutaneous drainage followed by elective surgery vs. initial surgery for abdominopelvic abscesses related to Crohn's disease.
METHODS: All consecutive patients with spontaneous Crohn's disease-related abdominopelvic abscess from 1997 to 2007 were reviewed. The authors excluded postoperative and perirectal abscesses. Decision analysis during one year of patient life was used to calculate quality-adjusted life-years and the cost-effectiveness of each strategy.
RESULTS: Of 94 patients, 48 (51 percent) were initially approached with percutaneous drainage. Thirty-one (65 percent) had successful percutaneous drainage and delayed elective surgery. The factors significantly associated with percutaneous drainage failure were steroid use, colonic phenotype, and multiple or multilocular abscesses. The initial treatment was surgery in the remaining 46 (49 percent) patients. The initial approach with percutaneous drainage gave higher quality-adjusted life-years and was more cost-effective than initial surgery. Percutaneous drainage was the optimal strategy in spite of the risk of failure and septic complications within the plausible range.
CONCLUSIONS: Percutaneous drainage failure is associated with steroid use, colonic phenotype, and multiple or multilocular abscesses. When feasible, percutaneous drainage is the most effective strategy from the perspective of patients and third-party payers.