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Andrews, Christopher N.; Sadowski, Daniel C.; Lazarescu, Adriana; Williams, Chad; Neshev, Emil; Storr, Martin; Au, Flora; Heitman, Steven J.: Unsedated peroral wireless pH capsule placement vs. standard pH testing: A randomized study and cost analysis. In: BMC Gastroenterology 2012, 12:58




Background: Wireless capsule pH-metry (WC) is better tolerated than standard nasal pH catheter (SC), but endoscopic placement is expensive. Aims: to confirm that non-endoscopic peroral manometric placement of WC is as effective and better tolerated than SC and to perform a cost analysis of the available esophageal pH-metry methods. Methods: Randomized trial at 2 centers. Patients referred for esophageal pH testing were randomly assigned to WC with unsedated peroral placement or SC after esophageal manometry (ESM). Primary outcome was overall discomfort with pH-metry. Costs of 3 different pH-metry strategies were analyzed: 1) ESM + SC, 2) ESM + WC and 3) endoscopically placed WC (EGD + WC) using publicly funded health care system perspective. Results: 86 patients (mean age 51 +/- 2 years, 71% female) were enrolled. Overall discomfort score was less in WC than in SC patients (26 +/- 4 mm vs 39 +/- 4 mm VAS, respectively, p = 0.012) but there were no significant group differences in throat, chest, or overall discomfort during placement. Overall failure rate was 7% in the SC group vs 12% in the WC group (p = 0.71). Per patient costs ($Canadian) were $1475 for EGD + WC, $1014 for ESM + WC, and $906 for ESM + SC. Decreasing the failure rate of ESM + WC from 12% to 5% decreased the cost of ESM + WC to $991. The ESM + SC and ESM + WC strategies became equivalent when the cost of the WC device was dropped from $292 to $193. Conclusions: Unsedated peroral WC insertion is better tolerated than SC pH-metry both overall and during placement. Although WC is more costly, the extra expense is partially offset when the higher patient and caregiver time costs of SC are considered.