Drug-resistant epilepsy occurs in up to 40% of patients with epilepsy who may be considered for epilepsy surgery. For drug-resistant focal epilepsy, up to 50% of patients require invasive monitoring prior to surgery. Of the most common invasive monitoring strategies (subdural electrodes [SDEs] and stereo-electroencephalography [sEEG]), the most cost-effective strategy is unknown despite substantial differences in morbidity profiles.
Using data collected from an internationally representative sample published in available systematic reviews and meta-analyses, this economic evaluation study employs a decision analysis model to simulate the risks and benefits of SDE and sEEG invasive monitoring strategies. In this model, patients faced differing risks of morbidity, mortality, resection, and seizure freedom depending on which invasive monitoring strategy they underwent. A range of cost values was obtained from a recently published single-center cost-utility analysis. The model considers a base case simulation of a characteristic patient with drug-resistant epilepsy using clinical parameters obtained from systematic reviews of invasive monitoring available in the literature. The main outcome measure was the probability of a positive outcome after invasive monitoring, which was defined as improvement in seizures without a complication. Cost-effectiveness was measured using an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER).
Invasive monitoring with sEEG had an increased cost of $274 and increased probability of effectiveness of 0.02 compared with SDEs, yielding an ICER of $12,630 per positive outcome obtained. Sensitivity analyses varied parameters widely and revealed consistent model results across the range of clinical parameters reported in the literature. One-way sensitivity analyses revealed that invasive monitoring strategy costs were the most influential parameter for model outcome.
In this analysis, based on available observational data and estimates of complication costs, invasive monitoring with either SDEs or sEEG was nearly equivalent in terms of cost-effectiveness.