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Original research
Clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness analysis for the treatment of basilar tip aneurysms
  1. Isaac Josh Abecassis1,
  2. Rajeev Sen1,
  3. Cory Michael Kelly1,
  4. Samuel Levy1,
  5. Jason Barber1,
  6. Basavaraj Ghodke2,
  7. Michael Levitt1,
  8. Louis J Kim1,
  9. Laligam N Sekhar1
  1. 1 Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  2. 2 Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Isaac Josh Abecassis, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98104, USA; publications{at}


Background Endovascular treatment of basilar tip aneurysms is less invasive than microsurgical clipping, but requires closer follow-up.

Objective To characterize the additional costs associated with endovascular treatment of basilar tip aneurysms rather than microsurgical clipping.

Materials and methods We obtained clinical records and billing information for 141 basilar tip aneurysms treated with clip ligation (n=48) or endovascular embolization (n=93). Costs included direct and indirect costs associated with index hospitalization, as well as re-treatments, follow-up visits, imaging studies, rehabilitation, and disability. Effectiveness of treatment was quantified by converting functional outcomes (modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score) into quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Cost-effectiveness was performed using cost/QALY ratios.

Results Average index hospitalization costs were significantly higher for patients with unruptured aneurysms treated with clip ligation ($71 400 ± $47 100) compared with coil embolization ($33 500 ± $22 600), balloon-assisted coiling ($26 200 ± $11 600), and stent-assisted coiling ($38 500 ± $20 900). Multivariate predictors for higher index hospitalization cost included vasospasm requiring endovascular intervention, placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, longer length of stay, larger aneurysm neck and width, higher Hunt-Hess grade, and treatment-associated complications. At 1 year, endovascular treatment was associated with lower cost/QALY than clip ligation in unruptured aneurysms ($52 000/QALY vs $137 000/QALY, respectively, p=0.006), but comparable rates in ruptured aneurysms ($193 000/QALY vs $233 000/QALY, p=0.277). Multivariate predictors for higher cost/QALY included worse mRS score at discharge, procedural complications, and larger aneurysm width.

Conclusions Coil embolization of basilar tip aneurysms is associated with a lower cost/QALY. This effect is sustained during follow-up. Clinical condition at discharge is the most significant predictor of overall cost/QALY at 1 year.

  • basilar tip aneurysm
  • cost effectiveness analysis
  • clip versus coil

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  • Contributors Conception or design of the work: IJA, ML, BG, LJK, LNS. Data collection: IJA, RS, CMK. Data analysis and interpretation: IJA, CMK, JB. Drafting the article: IJA, CMK, SL, RS. Critical revision of the article: ML, LJK, LNS. Final approval of the version to be published: IJA, RS, CMK, SL, JB, BG, ML, LJK, LNS.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests BG: Viket Medical, Inc (equity interest), ML: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (grant), American Heart Association (grant), Stryker, Inc (unrestricted educational grant), Covidien (unrestricted educational grant), Medtronic (consulting), Minnetronix (consulting), Proprio (equity interest). LJK: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (grant), Microvention, Inc (consulting), Spi Surgical, Inc (equity interest). LNS: Spi Surgical, Inc (shareholder), Viket Medical, Inc (shareholder).

  • Ethics approval University of Washington institutional review board #5703.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data is available under request.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.