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Original Contribution |

Clinical Outcomes and Costs With the Levonorgestrel-Releasing Intrauterine System or Hysterectomy for Treatment of Menorrhagia:  Randomized Trial 5-Year Follow-up FREE

Ritva Hurskainen, MD, PhD; Juha Teperi, MD, PhD; Pekka Rissanen, PhD; Anna-Mari Aalto, PhD; Seija Grenman, MD, PhD; Aarre Kivelä, MD, PhD; Erkki Kujansuu, MD, PhD; Sirkku Vuorma, MD; Merja Yliskoski, MD, PhD; Jorma Paavonen, MD, PhD
[+] Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Helsinki (Drs Hurskainen and Paavonen), University of Turku (Dr Grenman), University of Oulu (Dr Kivelä), University of Tampere (Dr Kujansuu), and University of Kuopio (Dr Yliskoski); School of Public Health, University of Tampere (Dr Rissanen); and STAKES (National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health), Helsinki (Drs Hurskainen, Teperi, Aalto, and Vuorma), Finland.


JAMA. 2004;291(12):1456-1463. doi:10.1001/jama.291.12.1456.
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Context Because menorrhagia is often a reason for seeking medical attention, it is important to consider outcomes and costs associated with alternative treatment modalities. Both the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) and hysterectomy have proven effective for treatment of menorrhagia but there are no long-term comparative studies measuring cost and quality of life.

Objective To compare outcomes, quality-of-life issues, and costs of the LNG-IUS vs hysterectomy in the treatment of menorrhagia.

Design, Setting, and Participants Randomized controlled trial conducted between October 1, 1994, and October 6, 2002, and enrolling 236 women (mean [SD] age, 43 [3.4] years) referred to 5 university hospitals in Finland for complaints of menorrhagia.

Interventions Participants were randomly assigned to treatment with the LNG-IUS (n = 119) or hysterectomy (n = 117) and were monitored for 5 years.

Main Outcome Measures Health-related quality of life (HRQL) as measured by the 5-Dimensional EuroQol and the RAND 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey, other measures of psychosocial well-being (anxiety, depression, and sexual function), and costs.

Results After 5 years of follow-up, 232 women (99%) were analyzed for the primary outcomes. The 2 groups did not differ substantially in terms of HRQL or psychosocial well-being. Although 50 (42%) of the women assigned to the LNG-IUS group eventually underwent hysterectomy, the discounted direct and indirect costs in the LNG-IUS group ($2817 [95% confidence interval, $2222-$3530] per participant) remained substantially lower than in the hysterectomy group ($4660 [95% confidence interval, $4014-$5180]). Satisfaction with treatment was similar in both groups.

Conclusions By providing improvement in HRQL at relatively low cost, the LNG-IUS may offer a wider availability of choices for the patient and may decrease costs due to interventions involving surgery.

Figures in this Article

Menorrhagia is an important cause of ill health in women worldwide. About one third of women report heavy menstrual bleeding at some time in their lives.1 Menorrhagia is the presenting symptom among the majority of women who undergo hysterectomy,2,3 and recent data suggest that menorrhagia is an increasingly common health problem.4

The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) (Schering Co, Turku, Finland) has been advocated for the treatment of menorrhagia as an alternative to surgery.5 The LNG-IUS is an intrauterine system that releases 20 µg of levonorgestrel every 24 hours over 5 years. The LNG-IUS was developed during the 1980s and licensed first for contraception in Finland in 1990. The estimated number of current LNG-IUS users worldwide is more than 4 million, in approximately 100 countries. In many countries the LNG-IUS is licensed both for contraception and treatment of menorrhagia. In the United States, the system is so far approved for contraception only (Tarja J. Butzow, MD, PhD, Schering Co, Finland, written communication, December 17, 2003).

Studies of hysterectomy, endometrial ablation, and the LNG-IUS have raised important questions about health outcomes and the allocation of resources for treatment of menorrhagia. Hysterectomy is effective but can be associated with complications and costs. Endometrial ablation may be an alternative to hysterectomy for the short term, but its benefit lessens over time.6 The LNG-IUS is an effective and reversible treatment modality for menorrhagia. The LNG-IUS reduces menstrual blood loss (MBL) more than tranexamic acid,7 nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,8 danazol,8 oral progestogens,8 combined oral contraceptives,8 or long-term norethisterone.9 No difference in patient satisfaction or health-related quality of life (HRQL) has been found between the LNG-IUS and endometrial destruction, and both are effective in reducing MBL.10,11 The LNG-IUS also reduced the preference for hysterectomy.5 We have shown that the LNG-IUS is more cost-effective than hysterectomy after 1 year of follow-up.12 Whether there is a longer-term advantage is unknown.

We conducted a randomized trial of the LNG-IUS and hysterectomy for the treatment of menorrhagia and report herein the clinical findings, quality-of-life outcomes, and costs after 5 years of follow-up.

Full details of the original trial have been reported elsewhere.12 Briefly, each woman who participated had been referred by a general practitioner or gynecologist for complaints of menorrhagia to 1 of the 5 university hospitals in Finland between October 1, 1994, and September 10, 1997. Overall, 236 women aged 35 to 49 years who were menstruating, had completed their desired family size, and were eligible for both treatments were randomized to receive the LNG-IUS (n = 119) or hysterectomy (n = 117) (Figure 1). The randomization was performed separately for each center on randomly varying clusters using numbered, opaque, and sealed envelopes. The follow-up visits took place 6 months and 12 months after the treatment, and again 5 years after the randomization. For women having hysterectomy, there was a planned visit 4 weeks after hysterectomy. Questionnaires were completed by participants and study gynecologists at baseline before randomization and at each follow-up visit. Participants completed a questionnaire at home containing HRQL instruments and questions on health care use, sick leave days, and travel costs separately for menorrhagia and other conditions. Gynecologists completed a form that included questions on participant menstrual problems, LNG-IUS–associated bleeding and reasons for discontinuing its use, operation details, and complications, as well as clinical status.

Figure. Study Flow
Graphic Jump Location
Trial profile representing 1-year follow-up has been previously published.12 *Not eligible because of submucosal fibroids (n = 84), lack of indication for hysterectomy (n = 25), urinary and bowel symptoms or pain due to large fibroids (n = 20), endometrial polyps (n = 14), previous treatment failure with the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) (n = 10), menopausal (n = 7), metrorrhagia as a main complaint (n = 7), ovarian tumors or cysts with diameter >5 cm (n = 4), cervical pathology (n = 3), history of malignancies (n = 3), severe acne (n = 3), severe depression (n = 3), or uterine malformation (n = 1). †Refusal to participate because of preference for hysterectomy (n = 71), preference for medical treatment (n = 37), refusal of any treatment (n = 28), still planning pregnancy (n = 11), preference for endometrial ablation (n = 3), and other reasons (n = 28). ‡Invited for 5-year follow-up.

The ethics committees of all the university hospitals and STAKES (National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health) approved the study. All participants provided written informed consent.

Health-Related Quality of Life

The 5-Dimensional EuroQol (EQ-5D)13,14 was chosen as the primary measure of effectiveness because it provides a single numeric score for HRQL, is universally used, and has undergone validation in the Finnish general population.15 The EQ-5D consists of five 3-level subscales that indicate dimensions of mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain, and mood. The EQ-5D score index, which ranges from 0 to 1, was calculated by using relative weights for subscales obtained from a Finnish population survey.15 Better HRQL is indicated by higher scores. A validated Finnish version of the RAND 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (RAND-36)16,17 was also used for measurement of HRQL. The RAND-36 survey is composed of 8 multi-item dimensions: general health, physical functioning, mental health, social functioning, energy, pain, and physical and emotional role functioning. There is a range from 0 to 100 in each subscale, with higher scores indicating better HRQL. General health was assessed using a visual analog scale (scale range, 0-100).

Other Psychological Measures

Measurement of anxiety was accomplished using the validated Finnish version of the Spielberger 20-Item State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, with a range of 20 to 80.18 Measurement of depression was accomplished using the 13-item version of the Beck Depression Inventory, with a scale of 0 to 39.19 For both scales, higher scores are indicative of more symptoms. Sexuality-related elements were evaluated using the McCoy Sex Scale as modified by Wiklund.20,21 This scale contains 3 subscales: sexual satisfaction (5 items; subscale range, 5-35), sexual problems (2 items; subscale range, 2-14), and participant satisfaction with the partner (3 items; subscale range, 3-21).

Satisfaction

Overall satisfaction with the treatment was assessed by a 5-level question (from very unsatisfied to very satisfied). This assessment approach has been used previously.10,22

Cost Analysis

Data on direct costs including use of hospital services (operations, inpatient days, procedures, and outpatient visits) and medication, and on indirect costs including sick leave days as productivity losses, were obtained from medical records and the questionnaires. Information was obtained from the questionnaires for Papanicolaou tests, physician appointments out of hospital related to menorrhagia, and out-of-pocket costs due to menorrhagia (all direct costs) during the first and the last study years.

A system of pricing based on diagnosis related groups in use at Helsinki University Hospital was used to determine prices of hospital procedures. The first-year costs were based on 1996 price levels, and the annual costs thereafter on 2001 price levels. Hysterectomy unit cost comprised 1 preoperative visit, the operation itself, and 1 to 5 inpatient days ($1864 in 1996 and $2055 in 2001). If a longer hospital stay was required, the additional days were priced according to the average bed day price ($247 and $297, respectively) for the university hospital. Primary health care service costs were calculated from the unit costs of these services in the Helsinki Occupational Health Care Centers. The definition of the production loss cost per sick leave day was an average daily gross wage for women in Finland, which included social security contributions ($71 and $85). The costs were discounted by the commonly recommended rate of 3% per year23 to 1996 (average year for treatment decisions). The currency conversion had its basis in purchasing power parities in 1996 (US $1 = FIM 5.89).24

The uncertainty relating to analytical methods was handled by performing sensitivity analyses. Discounting was also performed using another commonly used rate of 5%.23 Because of difficulties in measuring costs of production loss properly, a sensitivity analysis using a lower estimate of production loss (one third of the average wage rate)25 was also performed. Checking the questionnaires and subsequently the medical records to double-check information provided in the questionnaires produced comprehensive data on costs for the 5 study years. Only the costs of Papanicolaou tests, physician appointments out of hospital related to menorrhagia, and out-of-pocket costs due to menorrhagia during years 2 to 4 were uncertain and had to be specified. To address this uncertainty, the following sensitivity analysis was performed. To calculate costs for years 2 through 4, cost data were taken from questionnaires for the last year in both groups. The data were used to calculate an average cost, which was then multiplied by 4 and added to the cost for the first year. This summary figure was used as the estimated costs of Papanicolaou tests, physician appointments out of hospital related to menorrhagia, and out-of-pocket costs due to menorrhagia for all 5 years. This approach provides a good estimate of actual costs because the first-year cost is likely different from the others and costs for the subsequent 4 years are likely to be similar. These costs were marginal, only 1% to 4% of total costs. None of the 4 women lost to follow-up during this period underwent gynecological surgery, as ascertained by checking the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register for intercurrent surgeries. Because of different pricing systems applied in other countries, we also performed a sensitivity analysis with 2 different hysterectomy prices (80% of the base case and hysterectomy price in the United States in 199626).

Laboratory Investigation

Measurement of MBL occurred before randomization and after 12 months (reported previously12) and 5 years. Menstrual blood loss was measured using the alkaline hematin method27 and was calculated as the average total for the duration of the participant's menstrual period. Blood hemoglobin concentrations were measured using a Coulter Counter T660 (Coulter Electronics Ltd, London, England). Serum ferritin was measured by a direct chemiluminescent immunoassay method (Chiron Diagnostics, Halsteed, England). The blood samples were drawn during period days 1 to 7.

Statistical Analysis

The target of 115 patients in each treatment group was based on power calculation. Based on an EQ-5D standard deviation (SD) of 19 percentage points (as per an analysis including a Finnish 34- to 49-year-old female population15) and an α level of .05, the study had 80% power to detect a between-group difference of 7.5 percentage points. There was a mean of 5% missing data for HRQL measurement, which was treated in the analysis as follows. For the EQ-5D, if responses on fewer than 3 dimensions were missing, a mean value for the nonmissing responses was used; otherwise, the scale was coded as missing. For the RAND-36 scales having dimensions with 4 or more items, missing data were handled by computing an individual mean value of the nonmissing responses for those having responded to at least 50% of the scale items. Otherwise, the total scale was coded as missing. For the RAND-36 scales having dimensions with fewer than 4 items, no missing values were allowed (ie, the scale was coded as missing). For the general health assessment via visual analog scale, there was also a mean of 5% missing data, for which a mean value for the nonmissing responses was used. For the Spielberger, Beck, and McCoy questionnaires, there was a mean of 9% missing data and the individual mean was used if less than one third of the items were missing; otherwise, the scale was coded as missing. Using these adjustments, the means for the individual participants were used to handle the missing data except in 1%, for whom group means were used because of the extent of the missing data. If not indicated otherwise, all analyses were performed according to the intention-to-treat principle. Changes in outcome measures within the groups were tested by the paired-sample t test and differences in score changes between the groups were tested by the t test for independent samples. The Wilcoxon signed rank test was used for testing the baseline scores for the subgroup analyses. All analyses were performed using SAS version 8.2 (SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC). Probability values ≤.05 were considered statistically significant.

The study was conducted between October 1, 1994, and October 6, 2002. At baseline, the mean age of the 236 participants was 43 years (SD, 3.4), parity was 2.1 (SD, 1.1), and body mass index calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters was 25.8 (SD, 4.8) (some characteristics have been reported previously and some outcomes given herein include 1-year outcomes from that prior report12). Of 234 women reporting, 99 (with similar distribution between randomization groups) indicated having some medical treatment for menorrhagia in the prior 6 months and 135 reported having none. After 5 years of follow-up, 232 women (99%) of mean age 48 years (SD, 3.3) were analyzed for the main outcome measures. Overall satisfaction with the treatments was high; 94% of the women in the LNG-IUS group and 93% of the women in the hysterectomy group were satisfied or very satisfied.

LNG-IUS Outcomes

Of the 119 women randomized to treatment with the LNG-IUS, insertion of the intrauterine system could not be achieved in 2 women, 1 having cervical stricture and 1 having submucosal fibroid identified during the randomization visit. Of all women, 115 (97%) attended the 5-year follow-up, and 2 (2%) mailed the questionnaire without having a physical examination. Two (2%) women were lost to follow-up.

Five years after randomization, 57 (48%) women (of whom 8 had a replacement LNG-IUS) had the LNG-IUS in situ and 10 (8%) were without LNG-IUS (of whom 1 had had thermoablation). Hysterectomy had been performed in 50 women (42%) (12 vaginally, 8 abdominally, and 30 laparoscopically, including bilateral oophorectomy in 6). Overall, 8 women underwent bilateral oophorectomy and 4 underwent unilateral oophorectomy. Fifteen (30%) of these 50 women developed complications, including postoperative pelvic infection (9), strong abdominal pains (3), wound infection (2), heavy perioperative bleeding (1), intestinal occlusion (1), postoperative bleeding (1), postoperative fever (1), and urinary retention (1).

Of the 57 women with the LNG-IUS in situ, 43 (75%) reported amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea, 11 (19%) reported irregular bleeding, and 3 (6%) reported scanty regular bleeding. The mean MBL (measured for only 4 women) was 17 mL (SD, 11.3; range, 8-32 mL). The rest of the women with the LNG-IUS had amenorrhea or only minimal spotting. Among the 60 women who did not continue treatment with the LNG-IUS, 42 (70%) reported intermenstrual bleeding; 19 (32%), heavy bleeding; and 18 (30%), hormonal symptoms (some had more than 1 complaint) for the reason of the removal of the LNG-IUS. Six women developed lower abdominal pain, 2 of whom were eventually found to have diverticulosis. Two women had the LNG-IUS removed after developing depression, 1 because of recurrent thromboembolic disease, and 1 because of benign ovarian cyst. One woman wanted hysterectomy without any specific indication. No participant discontinued the intervention because of menopause.

Hysterectomy Outcomes

Of the 117 women randomized to the hysterectomy group, 114 completed the 5-year follow-up, and 1 mailed the questionnaire without having a physical examination. One woman died in 2000 in a car crash. Only 1 woman withdrew from the study. Of the 117 women, 109 underwent hysterectomy, including 2 who had the surgery 12 months after randomization. Two women had the LNG-IUS inserted after randomization. Five women had cancelled their operation following reduced MBL or because of a job or family situation.

The hysterectomy was performed vaginally in 30 (28%) women, abdominally in 22 (20%), and laparoscopically in 57 (52%). Bilateral oophorectomy was performed in 5 cases. Overall, 7 women underwent bilateral oophorectomy and 5 underwent unilateral oophorectomy. Three bladder perforations and 1 bowel perforation were included in intraoperative complications. Postoperative complications occurred in 33 (30%) women, including wound infection (12), infected pelvic hematoma (6), urinary retention (4), severe abdominal pain (3), ileus (2), postoperative bleeding (2), postoperative fever (2), wound rupture (2), peritonitis (1), ureter lesion (1), and vesicovaginal fistula (1).

HRQL, Other Psychosocial Outcomes

Scores on the EQ-5D were improved in both groups compared with baseline values (LNG-IUS group, P = .002; hysterectomy group, P = .001), with no substantial difference between the groups (Table 1).

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 1. Baseline Outcome Scores and Score Change Over 5 Years in the 2 Treatment Groups

In both groups, HRQL measured by the RAND-36 questionnaire improved significantly in all dimensions (P<.01) except physical functioning (LNG-IUS group, P = .40; hysterectomy group, P = .30), with no substantial differences between the groups.

General health status, as measured by visual analog scale, was significantly improved (P = .04) in the hysterectomy group but not in the LNG-IUS group (P = .08), with no substantial difference between the groups. The anxiety (P = .001 in both groups) and depression scores (LNG-IUS group, P = .006; hysterectomy group, P = .001) improved significantly, with no substantial difference between the groups. Sexual function scores showed no substantial within- or between-group changes, except that participant satisfaction with the partner declined in the LNG-IUS group (P = .006).

In a subgroup analysis of the LNG-IUS, the baseline RAND-36 scores for those having hysterectomy by 5 years were lower in 6 of 8 dimensions compared with those having the LNG-IUS in situ (general health, P = .02; physical functioning, P = .01; social functioning, P = .004; energy, P = .009; pain, P<.001; and physical role functioning, P = .006). The depression score was higher (P = .02). The follow-up score changes did not differ substantially. Similarly, the baseline scores for those in the LNG-IUS group undergoing hysterectomy compared with those in the hysterectomy group were lower in 6 dimensions (general health, P = .03; mental health, P = .05; social functioning, P = .003; energy, P = .02; pain, P = .02; and physical role functioning, P = .04). The anxiety (P = .03) and depression scores (P = .01) were higher. The follow-up score changes did not differ substantially. Of note, these subanalyses are not based on intention-to-treat; thus, the evidence may be less robust than the other data.

Laboratory Tests

Menstrual blood loss was measured in 227 women at baseline; objective menorrhagia (ie, MBL ≥80 mL) was present in 132 (58%) women. The mean MBL was 130 mL (SD, 116) in the LNG-IUS group and 128 mL (SD, 116) in the hysterectomy group. At 5 years, only 4 of 57 women with LNG-IUS in situ who had bleeding (out of 11 having irregular bleeding and 3 having regular scanty bleeding) contributed samples for MBL. All the other women had only minimal spotting. Blood hemoglobin and serum ferritin concentrations (measured in all participants at baseline and those in the study at 5-year follow-up) were significantly higher in both groups after 5 years, with no substantial difference between the groups (R.H., unpublished data, August 2003).

Cost Analysis

The costs of health care, out-of-pocket costs (ie, medication, travel), and productivity losses (ie, sick leave days) are provided in Table 2. The discounted total cost per participant was $2817 (95% confidence interval [CI], $2222-$3530) in the LNG-IUS group and $4660 (95% CI, $4014-$5180) in the hysterectomy group. Both the discounted direct cost and the discounted productivity losses (indirect cost) were significantly lower in the LNG-IUS group vs the hysterectomy group (direct cost: $1892 [95% CI, $1352-$2189] vs $2787 [95% CI, $2312-$3133], respectively; productivity losses: $925 [95% CI, $725-$1232] vs $1873 [95% CI, $1650-$2096]). Because the difference in quality-adjusted life-years showed no statistical difference between the groups, no incremental cost-utility ratio was calculated.

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 2. Total (Direct and Indirect) Cost of Menorrhagia in the LNG-IUS and Hysterectomy Groups*

The robustness of our findings was tested using different estimates of discount rate, cost of hysterectomy, wage rate, and health care use (visits to private physicians, Papanicolaou tests, and medications). The sensitivity analyses showed that these variables had no significant effect on the difference in cost (Table 3). The serious adverse events in 2 women in the hysterectomy group caused extra costs due to 11 inpatient days in the intensive care unit involving suture of the ileum and 10 inpatient days involving nephrostoma or ureterneocystostomia and oophorectomy. However, if these costs are distributed among all women in the hysterectomy group, the net effect is only $128 per woman.

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 3. Results of Sensitivity Analysis

We showed that in the treatment of menorrhagia, the health-related quality-of-life outcomes associated with the LNG-IUS and hysterectomy were similar. Although 42% of the women assigned to the LNG-IUS group subsequently underwent hysterectomy, the overall direct and indirect costs after 5 years were still approximately 40% lower in the LNG-IUS group. In general, women were equally satisfied with the LNG-IUS and with hysterectomy.

All 5 university hospitals in Finland participated in the study. The drop-out rate was very low (1%), showing high commitment of the participating women and absence of compliance bias. The characteristics of the study population did not differ from those in other studies of menorrhagia. Our inclusion criteria followed general clinical guidelines, suggesting that selection bias was unlikely. Moreover, the use of different techniques of hysterectomy reflected current practice in true clinical settings. Although not all women referred for menorrhagia complaints were included, those not participating either did not provide consent or were unable to meet the eligibility criteria. We thus suggest that the study group represents women who were true candidates for both treatment options and that the findings are generalizable.

The complication rate of hysterectomy was high when compared with register studies28,29 but in the same range when compared with cohort studies.30,31 The LNG-IUS discontinuation rate also was relatively high. However, this is in line with other recent studies also showing a relatively high discontinuation rate after 2 years (34%),32 or after 4 to 5 years (50%).33 Success or failure of treatment with hysterectomy or the LNG-IUS is multifactorial and difficult to predict in an individual case. Our subanalyses suggest that lower baseline scores in HRQL predict poorer continuation rate with the LNG-IUS. It is possible that women in the LNG-IUS group having hysterectomy had lower tolerance for adverse effects of the LNG-IUS because of psychosocial problems.

There is some controversy as to whether the results of an economic analysis performed in 1 country can be generalized to other countries. Also, the relative price of hysterectomy likely correlates with the likelihood of its use as a treatment choice. We therefore performed sensitivity analyses for discounting rate, productivity loss, health care use, and cost of hysterectomy. The results revealed no significant effect on cost, but the higher price of hysterectomy made use of the LNG-IUS even more attractive. We have also reported the estimates separately so that readers can judge the relevance of the trial to their local clinical settings.

Randomized health economic trials of menorrhagia are rare. Five reports from 3 randomized trials have compared costs of endometrial resection vs hysterectomy.6,3437 These trials showed that although endometrial resection has less health care cost than hysterectomy, the cost disparity narrowed over a prolonged follow-up primarily because of the retreatment of women who underwent endometrial resection. After 4 months, the cost of resection was 53% of hysterectomy, whereas after 2 and 4 years the costs accounted for 71%37 and 93%,6 respectively. This study is the first long-term randomized outcomes and cost trial comparing medical and surgical treatments of menorrhagia. The findings after the first year suggested that the decision to treat menorrhagia with hysterectomy rather than with the LNG-IUS was approximately 3 times more expensive.12 After 5 years, treatment with the LNG-IUS was still 40% less expensive than hysterectomy.

It has been suggested that introduction of endometrial ablation has increased the overall rate of expensive surgical procedures.38 In England, hysterectomy rates have increased despite the growing popularity of endometrial ablation.38 In Finland, the use of endometrial ablation is low but the LNG-IUS is widely accepted (Finnish Social Insurance Institution, unpublished data, January 2001). The national hysterectomy rate has declined by about 13% since 1998 (Finnish Hospital Discharge Register, unpublished data, 2001), suggesting that the use of the LNG-IUS is already changing clinical practice.

Because menorrhagia is often a reason for seeking medical attention, it is important to consider the outcomes and costs of various treatment options to provide the most appropriate care. The LNG-IUS may improve HRQL at relatively low cost, undoubtedly enhances patient choice, and may reduce surgery-related costs.

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Cooper KG, Parkin DE, Garratt AM, Grant AM. Two-year follow up of women randomised to medical management or transcervical resection of the endometrium for heavy menstrual loss.  BJOG.1999;106:258-265.
PubMed
Drummond M, Jefferson T. Guidelines for authors and peer reviewers of economic submissions to the BMJ BMJ.1996;313:275-283.
PubMed
 Purchasing power parities. In: Development of EC-oa. Paris, France: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; 1993:15.
Koopmanschap MA, Rutten FF. The impact of indirect costs on outcomes of health care programs.  Health Econ.1994;3:385-393.
PubMed
Dorsey JH, Holtz PM, Griffiths RI, McGrath MM, Steinberg EP. Costs and charges associated with three alternative techniques of hysterectomy.  N Engl J Med.1996;335:476-482.
PubMed
Hurskainen R, Teperi J, Turpeinen U.  et al.  Combined laboratory and diary method for objective assessment of menstrual blood loss.  Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand.1998;77:201-204.
PubMed
Munro MG, Deprest J. Laparoscopic hysterectomy: does it work?  Clin Obstet Gynecol.1995;38:401-425.
PubMed
Härkki-Siren P, Sjöberg J, Mäkinen J.  et al.  Finnish national register of laparoscopic hysterectomies.  Am J Obstet Gynecol.1997;176:118-122.
PubMed
Dicker RC, Greenspan JR, Strauss LT.  et al.  Complications of abdominal and vaginal hysterectomy among women of reproductive age in the United States.  Am J Obstet Gynecol.1982;144:841-848.
PubMed
Meltomaa S, Mäkinen J, Taalikka M, Helenius H. One-year cohort of abdominal, vaginal, and laparoscopic hysterectomies: complications and subjective outcomes.  J Am Coll Surg.1999;189:389-396.
PubMed
Hidalgo M, Bahamondes L, Perrotti M, Diaz J, Dantas-Monteiro C, Petta C. Bleeding patterns and clinical performance of the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (Mirena) up to two years.  Contraception.2002;65:129-132.
PubMed
Nagrani R, Bowen-Simpkins P, Barrington JW. Can the levonorgestrel intrauterine system replace surgical treatment for the management of menorrhagia?  BJOG.2002;109:345-347.
PubMed
Gannon MJ, Holt EM, Fairbank J.  et al.  A randomised trial comparing endometrial resection and abdominal hysterectomy for the treatment of menorrhagia.  BMJ.1991;303:1362-1364.
PubMed
Sculpher MJ, Bryan S, Dwyer N, Hutton J, Stirrat GM. An economic evaluation of transcervical endometrial resection versus abdominal hysterectomy for the treatment of menorrhagia.  BJOG.1993;100:244-252.
PubMed
Cameron IM, Mollison J, Pinion SB, Atherton-Naji A, Buckingham K, Torgerson D. A cost comparison of hysterectomy and hysteroscopic surgery for the treatment of menorrhagia.  Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol.1996;70:87-92.
PubMed
Sculpher MJ, Dwyer N, Byford S, Stirrat GM. Randomised trial comparing hysterectomy and transcervical endometrial resection.  BJOG.1996;103:142-149.
PubMed
Powell M. Endometrial ablative surgery.  Curr Obstet Gynaecol.1998;8:73-79.

Figures

Figure. Study Flow
Graphic Jump Location
Trial profile representing 1-year follow-up has been previously published.12 *Not eligible because of submucosal fibroids (n = 84), lack of indication for hysterectomy (n = 25), urinary and bowel symptoms or pain due to large fibroids (n = 20), endometrial polyps (n = 14), previous treatment failure with the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) (n = 10), menopausal (n = 7), metrorrhagia as a main complaint (n = 7), ovarian tumors or cysts with diameter >5 cm (n = 4), cervical pathology (n = 3), history of malignancies (n = 3), severe acne (n = 3), severe depression (n = 3), or uterine malformation (n = 1). †Refusal to participate because of preference for hysterectomy (n = 71), preference for medical treatment (n = 37), refusal of any treatment (n = 28), still planning pregnancy (n = 11), preference for endometrial ablation (n = 3), and other reasons (n = 28). ‡Invited for 5-year follow-up.

Tables

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 1. Baseline Outcome Scores and Score Change Over 5 Years in the 2 Treatment Groups
Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 2. Total (Direct and Indirect) Cost of Menorrhagia in the LNG-IUS and Hysterectomy Groups*
Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 3. Results of Sensitivity Analysis

References

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Stirrat GM. Choice of treatment for menorrhagia.  Lancet.1999;353:2175-2176.
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Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).  The Initial Management of MenorrhagiaLondon, England: RCOG; 1998. RCOG Evidence-Based Guidelines No. 1.
Lähteenmäki P, Haukkamaa M, Puolakka J.  et al.  Open randomised study of use of levonorgestrel releasing intrauterine system as alternative to hysterectomy.  BMJ.1998;316:1122-1126.
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Aberdeen Endometrial Ablation Trials Group.  A randomised trial of endometrial ablation versus hysterectomy for the treatment of dysfunctional uterine bleeding.  BJOG.1999;106:360-366.
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Milsom I, Andersson K, Andersch B, Rybo G. A comparison of flurbiprofen, tranexamic acid, and a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine contraceptive device in the treatment of idiopathic menorrhagia.  Am J Obstet Gynecol.1991;164:879-883.
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Irvine GA, Campbell-Brown MB, Lumsden MA, Heikkilä A, Walker J, Cameron IT. Randomised comparative trial of the levonorgestrel intrauterine system and norethisterone for treatment of idiopathic menorrhagia.  BJOG.1998;105:592-598.
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Crosignani PG, Vercellini P, Mosconi P, Oldani S, Cortesi I, De Giorgi O. Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device versus hysteroscopic endometrial resection in the treatment of dysfunctional uterine bleeding.  Obstet Gynecol.1997;90:257-263.
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Kittelsen N, Istre O. A randomized study comparing levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) and transcervical resection of the endometrium (TCRE) in the treatment of menorrhagia: preliminary results.  Gynaecol Endosc.1998;7:61-65.
Hurskainen R, Teperi J, Rissanen P.  et al.  Quality of life and cost-effectiveness of levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system versus hysterectomy for treatment of menorrhagia.  Lancet.2001;357:273-277.
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Ohinmaa S, Sintonen H. Inconsistencies and modeling of the Finnish EuroQol (EQ-5D) preference values. In: Gainer W, Schulenburg G, Piercy J, eds. Discussion Papers of the 15th Annual EuroQol Plenary Meeting; October 1-2, 1998; Hannover, Germany. Hannover: Center of Health Economics and Health System Research, University of Hannover; 1998:57-74.
Ohinmaa A, Sintonen H. Quality of life of Finnish population as measured by the EuroQol. Presented at: the 12th Annual EuroQol Plenary Meeting; October 3-6, 1995; Barcelona, Spain.
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PubMed
Aalto A-M, Aro A, Teperi J. Rand-36 as a Measure of Health-Related Quality of Life: Reliability, Construct Validity and Reference Values in the Finnish General PopulationHelsinki, Finland: STAKES; 1999. Research report 101.
Spielberger C, Gorsuch R, Lushene R. STAI Manual for State-Trait Anxiety InventoryPalo Alto, Calif: Consulting Psychologists Press Inc; 1970.
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Wiklund I, Karlberg J, Lindgren R, Sandin K, Mattsson LA. A Swedish version of the Women's Health Questionnaire.  Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand.1993;72:648-655.
PubMed
Cooper KG, Parkin DE, Garratt AM, Grant AM. Two-year follow up of women randomised to medical management or transcervical resection of the endometrium for heavy menstrual loss.  BJOG.1999;106:258-265.
PubMed
Drummond M, Jefferson T. Guidelines for authors and peer reviewers of economic submissions to the BMJ BMJ.1996;313:275-283.
PubMed
 Purchasing power parities. In: Development of EC-oa. Paris, France: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; 1993:15.
Koopmanschap MA, Rutten FF. The impact of indirect costs on outcomes of health care programs.  Health Econ.1994;3:385-393.
PubMed
Dorsey JH, Holtz PM, Griffiths RI, McGrath MM, Steinberg EP. Costs and charges associated with three alternative techniques of hysterectomy.  N Engl J Med.1996;335:476-482.
PubMed
Hurskainen R, Teperi J, Turpeinen U.  et al.  Combined laboratory and diary method for objective assessment of menstrual blood loss.  Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand.1998;77:201-204.
PubMed
Munro MG, Deprest J. Laparoscopic hysterectomy: does it work?  Clin Obstet Gynecol.1995;38:401-425.
PubMed
Härkki-Siren P, Sjöberg J, Mäkinen J.  et al.  Finnish national register of laparoscopic hysterectomies.  Am J Obstet Gynecol.1997;176:118-122.
PubMed
Dicker RC, Greenspan JR, Strauss LT.  et al.  Complications of abdominal and vaginal hysterectomy among women of reproductive age in the United States.  Am J Obstet Gynecol.1982;144:841-848.
PubMed
Meltomaa S, Mäkinen J, Taalikka M, Helenius H. One-year cohort of abdominal, vaginal, and laparoscopic hysterectomies: complications and subjective outcomes.  J Am Coll Surg.1999;189:389-396.
PubMed
Hidalgo M, Bahamondes L, Perrotti M, Diaz J, Dantas-Monteiro C, Petta C. Bleeding patterns and clinical performance of the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (Mirena) up to two years.  Contraception.2002;65:129-132.
PubMed
Nagrani R, Bowen-Simpkins P, Barrington JW. Can the levonorgestrel intrauterine system replace surgical treatment for the management of menorrhagia?  BJOG.2002;109:345-347.
PubMed
Gannon MJ, Holt EM, Fairbank J.  et al.  A randomised trial comparing endometrial resection and abdominal hysterectomy for the treatment of menorrhagia.  BMJ.1991;303:1362-1364.
PubMed
Sculpher MJ, Bryan S, Dwyer N, Hutton J, Stirrat GM. An economic evaluation of transcervical endometrial resection versus abdominal hysterectomy for the treatment of menorrhagia.  BJOG.1993;100:244-252.
PubMed
Cameron IM, Mollison J, Pinion SB, Atherton-Naji A, Buckingham K, Torgerson D. A cost comparison of hysterectomy and hysteroscopic surgery for the treatment of menorrhagia.  Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol.1996;70:87-92.
PubMed
Sculpher MJ, Dwyer N, Byford S, Stirrat GM. Randomised trial comparing hysterectomy and transcervical endometrial resection.  BJOG.1996;103:142-149.
PubMed
Powell M. Endometrial ablative surgery.  Curr Obstet Gynaecol.1998;8:73-79.

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