Prior reports have linked patient transmission of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE, or “superbug”) to endoscopes used during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). We performed a decision analysis to measure the cost-effectiveness of four competing strategies for CRE risk management.
We used decision analysis to calculate the cost-effectiveness of four approaches to reduce the risk of CRE transmission among patients presenting to the hospital for symptomatic common bile duct stones. The strategies included the following: (1) perform ERCP followed by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-recommended endoscope reprocessing procedures; (2) perform ERCP followed by “endoscope culture and hold”; (3) perform ERCP followed by ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilization of the endoscope; and (4) stop performing ERCP in lieu of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) with common bile duct exploration (CBDE). Our outcome was incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained.
In the base–case scenario, ERCP with FDA-recommended endoscope reprocessing was the most cost-effective strategy. Both the ERCP with culture and hold ($4,228,170/QALY) and ERCP with EtO sterilization ($50,572,348/QALY) strategies had unacceptable incremental costs per QALY gained. LC with CBDE was dominated, being both more costly and marginally less effective vs. the alternatives. In sensitivity analysis, ERCP with culture and hold became the most cost-effective approach when the pretest probability of CRE exceeded 24%.
In institutions with a low CRE prevalence, ERCP with FDA-recommended reprocessing is the most cost-effective approach for mitigating CRE transmission risk. Only in settings with an extremely high CRE prevalence did ERCP with culture and hold become cost-effective.