Objectives: Although the clinical benefits of endovenous thermal ablation are widely recognized, few studies have evaluated the health economic implications of different treatments. This study compares 6-month clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) compared with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in the setting of a randomized clinical trial.
Methods: Patients with symptomatic primary varicose veins were randomized to EVLA or RFA and followed up for 6 months to evaluate clinical improvements, health related quality of life (HRQOL) and cost-effectiveness.
Results: A total of 131 patients were randomized, of which 110 attended 6-month follow-up (EVLA n = 54; RFA n = 56). Improvements in quality of life (AVVQ and SF-12v2) and Venous Clinical Severity Scores (VCSS) achieved at 6 weeks were maintained at 6 months, with no significant difference detected between treatment groups. There were no differences in treatment failure rates. There were small differences in favor of EVLA in terms of costs and 6-month HRQOL but these were not statistically significant. However, RFA is associated with less pain at up to 10 days.
Conclusions: EVLA and RFA result in comparable and significant gains in quality of life and clinical improvements at 6 months, compared with baseline values. EVLA is more likely to be cost-effective than RFA but absolute differences in costs and HRQOL are small.