Health technology assessment (Winchester, England)

Published by NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme
Online ISSN: 2046-4924
Print ISSN: 1366-5278
Publications
Background: In breast cancer patients, sentinel lymph node biopsy is carried out at the same time as the removal of the primary tumour to postoperatively test with histopathology for regional metastases in the sentinel lymph node. Those patients with positive test results are then operated on 2-4 weeks after primary surgery to remove the lymph nodes from the axilla (axillary lymph node dissection, ALND). New molecular tests RD-100i [one-step nucleic acid amplification (OSNA); based on messenger RNA amplification to identify the cytokeratin-19 (CK19) gene marker] (Sysmex, Norderstedt, Germany) and Metasin (using the CK19 and mammaglobin gene markers) (Cellular Pathology, Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, Harlow, UK) are intended to provide an intraoperative diagnosis, thereby avoiding the need for postoperative histopathology and, in positive cases, a second operation for ALND. Objective: To evaluate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of using OSNA and Metasin in the NHS in England for the intraoperative diagnosis of sentinel lymph nodes metastases, compared with postoperative histopathology, the current standard. Data sources: Electronic databases including MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library and the Health Economic Evaluations Database as well as clinical trial registries, grey literature and conference proceedings were searched up to July 2012. Review methods: A systematic review of the evidence was carried out using standard methods. Single-gate studies were used to estimate the accuracy of OSNA with histopathology as the reference standard. The cost-effectiveness analysis adapted an existing simulation model of the long-term costs and health implications of early breast cancer diagnostic outcomes. The model accounted for the costs of an extended first operation with intraoperative testing, the loss of health-related quality of life (disutility) from waiting for postoperative test results, disutility and costs of a second operation, and long-term costs and disutility from lymphoedema related to ALND, adjuvant therapy, locoregional recurrence and metastatic recurrence. Results: A total of 724 references were identified in the searches, of which 17 studies assessing test accuracy were included in the review, 15 on OSNA and two on Metasin. Both Metasin studies were unpublished. OSNA sensitivity of 84.5% [95% confidence interval (CI) 74.7% to 91.0%] and specificity of 91.8% (95% CI 87.8% to 94.6%) for patient nodal status were estimated in a meta-analysis of five studies [unadjusted for tissue allocation bias (TAB)]. At these values and a 20% node-positive rate, OSNA resulted in lifetime discounted cost-savings of £498 and a quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) loss of 0.048 relative to histopathology, that is, £4324 saved per QALY lost. The most favourable plausible scenario for OSNA in terms of the node-positive rate (range 10-40%), diagnostic accuracy values (91.3% sensitivity and 94.2% specificity, from three reports that adjusted for TAB), the costs of histopathology, OSNA and second surgery, and long-term costs and utilities resulted in a maximum saving per QALY lost of £10,500; OSNA sensitivity and specificity would need to be ≥ 95% for this figure to be ≥ £20,000. Limitations: There is limited evidence on the diagnostic test accuracy of intraoperative tests. The quality of information on costs of resource utilisation during the diagnostic pathway is low and no evidence exists on the disutility of waiting for a second surgery. No comparative studies exist that report clinical outcomes of intraoperative diagnostic tests. These knowledge gaps have more influence on the decision than current uncertainty in the performance of postoperative histopathology in standard practice. Conclusions: One-step nucleic acid amplification is not cost-effective for the intraoperative diagnosis of sentinel lymph node metastases. OSNA is less accurate than histopathology and the consequent loss of health benefits in this patient group is not compensated for by health gains elsewhere in the health system that may be obtained with the cost-savings made. The evidence on Metasin is insufficient to evaluate its cost-effectiveness. Study registration: This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42012002889. Funding: The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
Analysis for CS exacerbations stratified on baseline exacerbation rate
Values for key parameters on treatment effectiveness and asthma-related death used in the model
Cost-effectiveness results for base case and hospitalisation subgroup
This paper presents a summary of the evidence review group report into the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of omalizumab for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in children aged 6-11 years, based upon the evidence submission from Novartis Pharmaceutical UK Ltd to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as part of the single technology appraisal process. The manufacturer's submission was generally considered to be of good quality. The submission was based primarily on a preplanned subgroup IA-05 EUP (European Union Population) from the IA-05 trial, with outcomes including the number of clinically significant (CS) and clinically significant severe (CSS) exacerbations. Omalizumab therapy was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the rate of CS exacerbations, but the reduction in the rate of CSS exacerbations was not statistically significant. The benefit in terms of CS exacerbations was achieved mainly in patients with more than three exacerbations per year at baseline. The manufacturer found no previous published cost-effectiveness studies of omalizumab in children aged 6-11 years, so their de novo economic evaluation formed the basis of the submitted economic evidence. The economic model was considered appropriate for the decision problem. The results from the model indicated that omalizumab in addition to standard therapy compared with standard therapy alone did not appear cost-effective in either the overall population or a subgroup of patients hospitalised in the year prior to enrollment, with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of £ 91,169 and £ 65,911 per quality-adjusted life-year, respectively. These findings were found to be robust across a wide range of alternative assumptions through one-way sensitivity analyses. The guidance issued by NICE states that omalizumab is not recommended for the treatment of severe persistent allergic asthma in children aged 6-11 years.
 
To determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of topical mometasone in children with bilateral otitis media with effusion (OME). A double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial with an intention to treat analysis; the 10.6% of patients lost to follow-up at 1 month were censored in the analysis. 76 Medical Research Council General Practice Research Framework practices throughout the UK between 2004 and 2007. A sample of 217 children aged 4-11 years was selected from those presenting to their GP with one or more episodes of otitis media or ear-related problems in the previous 12 months whom the research nurse confirmed had bilateral glue ear using microtympanometry (B B or B C2 types using a modified Jerger classification) at randomisation. Mometasone 50 micrograms in each nostril or placebo spray once daily for 3 months. The primary outcome was the proportions of children cleared of OME assessed by tympanometry at 1 month. Secondary outcomes included clearance at 3 months and 9 months; adverse events; OM8-30 scores (a functional health status responsive disease-specific measure); hearing loss; days with otalgia; cost-effectiveness; and health utilities. Of the topical steroid group, 40.6% (39/96) demonstrated tympanometric clearance (C1 or A type) in one or both ears at 1 month, compared with 44.9% (44/98) of the placebo group. The absolute risk reduction at 1 month was -4.3% (95% CI -18.05% to 9.26%); the odds ratio (OR) was 0.84 (95% CI 0.48 to 1.48). Four covariates were pre-specified for inclusion in logistic regression analysis: age as a continuous variable (p = 0.94), season (p = 0.70), atopy (p = 0.61) and clinical severity (p = 0.006). The adjusted OR (AOR) at 1 month for the main outcome was 0.93 (95% CI 0.50 to 1.75). Secondary analysis at 3 months showed 58.1% of the steroid group had resolved and 52.3% of the placebo group, AOR 1.45 (95% CI 0.74 to 2.84). At 9 months 55.6% of the treated group remained clear in at least one ear and 65.3% of the placebo group, AOR 0.82 (95% CI 0.39 to 1.75). Adverse events (although relatively minor) occurred in 7-22% of children and included nasal stinging, epistaxis, dry throat and cough. The OM8-30 scores (p = 0.55) reported hearing difficulty (p = 0.08), and days with otalgia (p = 0.46) were not significantly different between groups at 3 months. The economic evaluation found the active treatment arm to be dominated by placebo, accruing slightly (but not significantly) higher costs and fewer quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), with a 24.2% probability that topical steroids are a cost-effective use of NHS resources at a ceiling ratio of 20,000 pounds per QALY gained. Use of topical intranasal corticosteroids is very unlikely to be a clinically effective treatment for OME (glue ear) in the primary care setting. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN38988331.
 
To assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of bevacizumab and cetuximab in the treatment of individuals with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Searches of main electronic databases were conducted in April and May 2005. For the assessment of bevacizumab, trials were included if they recruited participants with untreated metastatic CRC for first-line treatment. Only trials comparing bevacizumab in combination with irinotecan and/or established fluorouracil (5-FU)-containing or releasing regimens given as first-line therapy were included. For the assessment of cetuximab, trials were included if they recruited participants with epidermal growth-factor receptor-expressing metastatic CRC who had previously failed irinotecan-including therapy. Independent cost-effectiveness models of bevacizumab and cetuximab were developed using survival modelling methods. Adding bevacizumab to irinotecan in combination with 5-FU/folic acid (FA) plus irinotecan resulted in a statistically significant increase in median overall survival (OS) of 4.7 months. Adding bevacizumab to 5-FU/FA resulted in a non-significant increase in median OS of 3.7 months within one study and 7.7 months in another. Adding bevacizumab to irinotecan, fluorouracil and leucovorin (IFL) resulted in a statistically significant increase in median progression-free survival (PFS) of 4.4 months. Adding bevacizumab to 5-FU/FA resulted in a statistically significant increase in median PFS of 3.7 months, and a statistically significant increase in time to disease progression of 3.8 months compared to FU/FA alone. An overall tumour response rate of 44.8% was reported for bevacizumab plus IFL compared to 34.8% for IFL plus placebo. This addition was statistically significant. The addition of bevacizumab to 5-FU/FA resulted in a significant difference in tumour response rate within one study, but not another. Bevacizumab in combination with IFL or 5-FU/FA was observed to result in an increase of grade 3/4 adverse events. The independent health economic assessment suggests that the cost-effectiveness of bevacizumab plus IFL is unlikely to be better than pound 46,853 per life-year gained (LYG); the cost-utility of bevacizumab plus IFL is unlikely to be better than pound 62,857 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained. The cost-effectiveness of bevacizumab plus 5-FU/FA versus 5-FU/FA is unlikely to be better than pound 84,607 per LYG; the cost-utility of bevacizumab plus 5-FU/FA versus 5-FU/FA is unlikely to be better than pound 88,658 per QALY gained. A Phase II trial reported a median OS duration of 8.6 months for patients receiving cetuximab plus irinotecan, plus a median time to progression of 4.1 months, a tumour response rate of 22.9% and suggested that treatment with cetuximab in combination with irinotecan is associated with significantly more adverse events (any grade 3 or grade 4 adverse event) than cetuximab monotherapy. The single arm study of cetuximab plus irinotecan reported a median OS duration of 8.4 months, a median time to progression of 2.9 months and a tumour response rate of 15.2%. The cost-effectiveness model suggested that the expected survival duration of patients receiving cetuximab plus irinotecan is 0.79 years (9.5 months) when the proposed continuation rule is applied. In order for cetuximab plus irinotecan to achieve a cost-utility ratio of pound 30,000 per QALY gained, treatment with cetuximab plus irinotecan must provide an additional 0.65 life years (7.8 months) over treatment with active/best supportive care, implying that survival in the active/best supportive care group must be 0.14 life years (1.7 months) or less. The trials indicate that bevacizumab in combination with 5-FU/FA, and bevacizumab in combination with IFL, is clinically effective in comparison to standard chemotherapy options for the first-line treatment of metastatic CRC. The health economic analysis suggests that the marginal cost-utility of bevacizumab plus IFL versus IFL is unlikely to be better than pound 62,857 per QALY gained, and the marginal cost-utility of bevacizumab plus 5-FU/FA versus 5-FU/FA is unlikely to be better than pound 88,658 per QALY gained. There is no direct evidence to demonstrate whether cetuximab in combination with irinotecan improves health-related quality of life or OS in comparison to active/best supportive care or oxaliplatin plus 5-FU/FA, although the evidence on tumour response rates suggests that cetuximab plus irinotecan has some clinical activity. While it is difficult to suggest whether cetuximab represents value for money, indirect comparisons suggest that the incremental cost-utility of cetuximab plus irinotecan is unlikely to be better than pound 30,000 per QALY gained. This review highlights a number of areas for further research, including clarifying the true impact of first-line bevacizumab in combination with irinotecan and/or infusional 5-FU/FA, without subsequent bevacizumab treatment following disease progression, on OS in patients with metastatic CRC who are representative of the typical population of CRC patients in England and Wales. Further research concerning the impact of therapies on health-related quality of life is essential.
 
Follicular lymphoma (FL) is a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma which typically presents when the disease is at an advanced stage. The majority of patients receive first-line therapy of rituximab in combination with chemotherapy, with two-thirds receiving cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisolone. The clinical and cost-effectiveness of other chemotherapies in combination with rituximab in first-line therapy is not known. To systematically evaluate and appraise the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of rituximab (MabThera(®), Roche Products) in combination with chemotherapy, compared with chemotherapy alone, for the first-line treatment of symptomatic stage III-IV FL. A systematic review of literature and an economic evaluation were carried out. Key databases [including MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations; Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL); EMBASE; The Cochrane Library, including the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE), NHS Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) and Health Technology Assessment (HTA) databases; Science Citation Index (SCI); and BIOSIS], plus research registers and conference proceedings, were searched for relevant studies from inception up to October 2010. One reviewer assessed titles and abstracts of studies identified by the search strategy, obtained the full text of relevant papers and screened them against inclusion criteria. Data from included studies were extracted by one reviewer using a standardised data extraction form and checked by a second reviewer. The quality of included studies was assessed by one reviewer and checked by a second. A patient-level simulation model was developed to estimate the costs and quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gains from the perspective of the UK NHS and Personal Social Services, with costs and benefits discounted at 3.5% annually. Four randomised controlled trials comparing rituximab plus chemotherapy (R-chemotherapy) with chemotherapy alone in untreated, symptomatic patients with stage III-IV FL were identified. R-chemotherapy compared with chemotherapy alone increased the likelihood of a response to treatment in all four trials, with no additional toxicity of clinical relevance. Overall response rates were significantly improved in all four trials, with a difference between the R-chemotherapy and chemotherapy arms of between 5% and 24%, respectively. Complete response rates were also improved, with a difference between the R-chemotherapy and chemotherapy arms of between 2% and 25%, respectively. Exploratory meta-analyses were conducted; the level of statistical heterogeneity was very high and thus we believe the response rates from the individual trials to be a more robust estimator of the efficacy of the specific R-chemotherapy regimens. Over a follow-up period of 4-5 years, R-chemotherapy significantly increased the overall survival rate compared with chemotherapy alone in three trials, although data for two trials were compromised owing to the use of additional treatments. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for the addition of rituximab to CVP (cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisolone), CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin/adriamycin, vincristine and prednisolone) and MCP [mitoxantrone, chlorambucil (Leukeran(®), Aspen) and prednisolone] was £7720, £10,834 and £9316 per QALY gained, respectively, when it was assumed that first-line rituximab maintenance was not used. A scenario analysis is also presented, assuming that responders to R-chemotherapy in first-line induction receive maintenance with rituximab, increasing the ICER to £14,959, £21,687 and £20,493 per QALY gained, respectively. These relate to the sources of data used for the effectiveness in first and second line and the assumed utility values; there is uncertainty about the effect of salvage treatment on patients who had been previously treated with an anthracycline regimen. There is uncertainty whether or not rituximab is as effective in second-line treatment when patients have been previously treated with rituximab. The results from four randomised trials comparing R-chemotherapy with chemotherapy alone showed an improvement in clinical effectiveness outcomes, with minimal clinically relevant additional adverse events or toxicity. The cost per QALY gained is estimated to be < £25,000 for all three comparisons under our base-case assumption and is considerably lower if first-line rituximab maintenance is not assumed. More data on patients pre-treated with rituximab and on the effect of first-line maintenance with rituximab is required for future work. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most commonly occurring form of dementia. It is predominantly a disease of later life, affecting 5% of those over 65 in the UK. Review and update guidance to the NHS in England and Wales on the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine [acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs)] and memantine within their licensed indications for the treatment of AD, which was issued in November 2006 (amended September 2007 and August 2009). Electronic databases were searched for systematic reviews and/or metaanalyses, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and ongoing research in November 2009 and updated in March 2010; this updated search revealed no new includable studies. The databases searched included The Cochrane Library (2009 Issue 4, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials), MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, PsycINFO, EconLit, ISI Web of Science Databases--Science Citation Index, Conference Proceedings Citation Index, and BIOSIS; the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) databases--NHS Economic Evaluation Database, Health Technology Assessment, and Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects. The clinical effectiveness systematic review was undertaken following the principles published by the NHS CRD. We included RCTs whose population was people with AD. The intervention and comparators depended on disease severity, measured by the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). Interventions: mild AD (MMSE 21-26)--donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine; moderate AD (MMSE 10-20)--donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine; severe AD (MMSE < 10)--memantine. Comparators: mild AD (MMSE 21-26)--placebo or best supportive care (BSC); moderate AD (MMSE 10-20)--donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine, memantine, placebo or BSC; severe AD (MMSE < 10)--placebo or BSC. The outcomes were clinical, global, functional, behavioural, quality of life, adverse events, costs and cost-effectiveness. Where appropriate, data were pooled using pair-wise meta-analysis, multiple outcome measures, metaregression and mixedtreatment comparisons. The decision model was based broadly on the structure of the three-state Markov model described in the previous technology assessment report, based upon time to institutionalisation, parameterised with updated estimates of effectiveness, costs and utilities. Notwithstanding the uncertainty of our results, we found in the base case that the AChEIs are probably cost saving at a willingness-to-pay (WTP) of £’30,000 per qualityadjusted life-year (QALY) for people with mild-to-moderate AD. For this class of drugs, there is a > 99% probability that the AChEIs are more cost-effective than BSC. These analyses assume that the AChEIs have no effect on survival. For the AChEIs, in people with mild to moderate AD, the probabilistic sensitivity analyses suggested that donepezil is the most cost-effective, with a 28% probability of being the most cost-effective option at a WTP of £’30,000 per QALY (27% at a WTP of £’20,000 per QALY). In the deterministic results, donepezil dominates the other drugs and BSC, which, along with rivastigmine patches, are associated with greater costs and fewer QALYs. Thus, although galantamine has a slightly cheaper total cost than donepezil (£’69,592 vs £’69,624), the slightly greater QALY gains from donepezil (1.616 vs 1.617) are enough for donepezil to dominate galantamine.The probability that memantine is cost-effective in a moderate to severe cohort compared with BSC at a WTP of £’30,000 per QALY is 38% (and 28% at a WTP of £’20,000 per QALY). The deterministic ICER for memantine is £’32,100 per/QALY and the probabilistic ICER is £’36,700 per/QALY. Trials were of 6 months maximum follow-up, lacked reporting of key outcomes, provided no subgroup analyses and used insensitive measures. Searches were limited to English language, The model does not include behavioural symptoms and there is uncertainty about the model structure and parameters. The additional clinical effectiveness evidence identified continues to suggest clinical benefit from the AChEIs in alleviating AD symptoms, although there is debate about the magnitude of the effect. Although there is also new evidence on the effectiveness of memantine, it remains less supportive of this drug’s use than the evidence for AChEIs. The conclusions concerning cost-effectiveness are quite different from the previous assessment. This is because both the changes in effectiveness and costs between drug use and non-drug use underlying the ICERs are very small. This leads to highly uncertain results, which are very sensitive to change. RESEARCH PRIORITIES: RCTs to include mortality, time to institutionalisation and quality of life, powered for subgroup analysis. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK after breast and lung cancer. People with metastatic disease who are sufficiently fit are usually treated with active chemotherapy as first- or second-line therapy. Recently, targeted agents have become available including anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) agents, for example cetuximab and panitumumab, and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor agents, for example bevacizumab. To investigate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of panitumumab monotherapy and cetuximab (mono- or combination chemotherapy) for Kirsten rat sarcoma (KRAS) wild-type (WT) patients, and bevacizumab in combination with non-oxaliplatin chemotherapy, for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer after first-line chemotherapy. The assessment comprises a systematic review of clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness studies, a review and critique of manufacturer submissions and a de novo cohort-based economic analysis. For the assessment of effectiveness, a literature search was conducted in a range of electronic databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE and The Cochrane Library, from 2005 to November 2010. Studies were included if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or systematic reviews of RCTs of cetuximab, bevacizumab or panitumumab in participants with EGFR-expressing metastatic colorectal cancer with KRAS WT status that has progressed after first-line chemotherapy (for cetuximab and panitumumab) or participants with metastatic colorectal cancer that has progressed after first-line chemotherapy (bevacizumab). All steps in the review were performed by one reviewer and checked independently by a second. Synthesis was mainly narrative. An economic model was developed focusing on third-line and subsequent lines of treatment. Costs and benefits were discounted at 3.5% per annum. Probabilistic and univariate deterministic sensitivity analyses were performed. The searches identified 7745 titles and abstracts. Two clinical trials (reported in 12 papers) were included. No data were available for bevacizumab in combination with non-oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy in previously treated patients. Neither of the included studies had KRAS status performed prospectively, but the studies did report retrospective analyses of the results for the KRAS WT subgroups. Third-line treatment with cetuximab plus best supportive care or panitumumab plus best supportive care appears to have statistically significant advantages over treatment with best supportive care alone in patients with KRAS WT status. For the economic evaluation, five studies met the inclusion criteria. The base-case incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for KRAS WT patients for cetuximab compared with best supportive care is £98,000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY), for panitumumab compared with best supportive care is £150,000 per QALY and for cetuximab plus irinotecan compared with best supportive care is £88,000 per QALY. All ICERs are sensitive to treatment duration. In the specific populations of interest, there is a lack of evidence on bevacizumab, cetuximab and cetuximab plus irinotecan used second line and on bevacizumab and cetuximab plus irinotecan used third line. For cetuximab plus irinotecan treatment for KRAS WT people, there is no direct evidence on progression-free survival, overall survival and duration of treatment. Although cetuximab and panitumumab appear to be clinically beneficial for KRAS WT patients compared with best supportive care, they are likely to represent poor value for money when judged by cost-effectiveness criteria currently used in the UK. It would be useful to conduct a RCT for patients with KRAS WT status receiving cetuximab plus irinotecan. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
Objectives: To examine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of intravenous formulations of topotecan monotherapy, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin hydorocholoride (PLDH) monotherapy and paclitaxel used alone or in combination with a platinum-based compound for the second-line or subsequent treatment of advanced ovarian cancer. Data sources: Electronic databases covering publication years 2000-4. Company submissions. Review methods: Seventeen databases were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews for the clinical effectiveness of PLDH, topotecan and paclitaxel and economic evaluations of the cost-effectiveness of PLDH, topotecan and paclitaxel. Selected studies were quality assessed and data extracted, as were the three company submissions. A new model was developed to assess the costs of the alternative treatments, the differential mean survival duration and the impact of health-related quality of life. Monte-Carlo simulation was used to reflect uncertainty in the cost-effectiveness results. Results: Nine RCTs were identified. In five of these trials, both the comparators were used within their licensed indications. Of these five, three included participants with both platinum-resistant and platinum-sensitive advanced ovarian cancer, and a further two only included participants with platinum-sensitive disease. The comparators that were assessed in the three trials that included both subtypes of participants were PLDH versus topotecan, topotecan versus paclitaxel and PLDH versus paclitaxel. In the further two trials that included participants with the subtype of platinum-sensitive disease, the comparators that were assessed were single-agent paclitaxel versus a combination of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and cisplatin (CAP) and paclitaxel plus platinum-based chemotherapy versus conventional platinum-based therapy alone. A further four trials were identified and included in the review in which one of the comparators in the trial was used outside its licensed indication. The comparators assessed in these trials were oxaliplatin versus paclitaxel, paclitaxel given weekly versus every 3 weeks, paclitaxel at two different dose levels and oral versus intravenous topotecan. Four studies met the inclusion criteria for the cost-effectiveness review. The review of the economic evidence from the literature and industry submissions identified a number of significant limitations in existing studies assessing the cost-effectiveness of PLDH, topotecan and paclitaxel. Analysis 1 assessed the cost-effectiveness of PLDH, topotecan and paclitaxel administered as monotherapies. Sensitivity analysis was undertaken to explore the impact of patient heterogeneity (e.g. platinum-sensitive and platinum-resistant/refractory patients), the inclusion of additional trial data and alternative assumptions regarding treatment and monitoring costs. In the base-case results for Analysis 1, paclitaxel monotherapy emerged as the cheapest treatment. When the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were estimated, topotecan was dominated by PLDH. Hence the options considered in the estimation of the ICERs were paclitaxel and PLDH. The ICER for PLDH compared with paclitaxel was pound 7033 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) in the overall patient population (comprising platinum-sensitive, -refractory and -resistant patients). The ICER was more favourable in the platinum-sensitive group ( pound 5777 per QALY) and less favourable in the platinum-refractory/resistant group ( pound 9555 per QALY). The cost-effectiveness results for the base-case analysis were sensitive to the inclusion of additional trial data. Incorporating the results of the additional trial data resulted in less favourable estimates for the ICER for PLDH versus paclitaxel compared with the base-case results. The ICER of PLDH compared with paclitaxel was pound 20,620 per QALY in the overall patient population, pound 16,183 per QALY in the platinum-sensitive population and pound 26,867 per QALY in the platinum-resistant and -refractory population. The results from Analysis 2 explored the cost-effectiveness of the full range of treatment comparators for platinum-sensitive patients. The treatment options considered in this model comprised PLDH, topotecan, paclitaxel-monotherapy, CAP, paclitaxel/platinum combination therapy and platinum monotherapy. Owing to the less robust approaches that were employed to synthesise the available evidence and the heterogeneity between the different trials, the reliability of these results should be interpreted with some caution. Topotecan, paclitaxel monotherapy and PLDH were all dominated by platinum monotherapy (i.e. higher costs and lower QALYs). After excluding these alternatives, the treatments that remained under consideration were platinum monotherapy, CAP and paclitaxel-platinum combination therapy. Of these three alternatives, platinum monotherapy was the least costly and least effective. The ICER for CAP compared with platinum monotherapy was pound 16,421 per QALY. The ICER for paclitaxel-platinum combination therapy compared with CAP was pound 20,950 per QALY. Conclusions: For participants with platinum-resistant disease there was a low probability of response to treatment with PLDH, topotecan or paclitaxel. Furthermore, there was little difference between the three comparators in relation to overall survival. The comparators did, however, differ considerably in their toxicity profiles. Given the low survival times and response rates, it appears that the maintenance of quality of life and the control of symptoms and toxicity are paramount in this patient group. As the three comparators differed significantly in terms of their toxicity profiles, patient and physician choice is also an important element that should be addressed when decisions are made regarding second-line therapy. It can also be suggested that this group of patients may benefit from being included in further clinical trials of new drugs. For participants with platinum-sensitive disease there was a considerable range of median survival times observed across the trials. The most favourable survival times and response rates were observed for paclitaxel and platinum combination therapy. This suggests that treatment with combination therapy may be more beneficial than treatment with a single-agent chemotherapeutic regimen. In terms of single-agent compounds, the evidence suggests that PLDH is more effective than topotecan. Evidence from a further trial that compared PLDH and paclitaxel suggests that there is no significant difference between these two comparators in this trial. The three comparators did, however, differ significantly in terms of their toxicity profiles across the trials. Although treatment with PLDH may therefore be more beneficial than that with topotecan, patient and physician choice as to the potential toxicities associated with each of the comparators and the patient's ability and willingness to tolerate these are of importance. Assuming the NHS is willing to pay up to pound 20,000-40,000 per additional QALY, PLDH appears to be cost-effective compared with topotecan and paclitaxel monotherapy, in terms of the overall patient population and the main subgroups considered. The cost-effectiveness results for the base-case analysis were sensitive to the inclusion of additional trial data. Incorporating the results of additional trial data gave less favourable estimates for the ICER for PLDH versus paclitaxel monotherapy, compared with the base-case results. Although the ICER of PLDH compared with paclitaxel monotherapy was less favourable, PLDH was still cost-effective compared with topotecan and paclitaxel monotherapy. For platinum-sensitive patients, the combination of paclitaxel and platinum appears to be cost-effective. On the strength of the evidence reviewed here, it can be suggested that participants with platinum-resistant disease may benefit from being included in further clinical trials of new drugs. To assess the effectiveness of combination therapy against a single-agent non-platinum-based compound, it can be suggested that a trial that compared paclitaxel in combination with a platinum-based therapy versus single-agent PLDH would be a reasonable option.
 
To determine the acceptability, efficacy and costs of medical termination of pregnancy (MTOP) compared with surgical termination of pregnancy (STOP) at less than 14 weeks' gestation, and to understand women's decision-making processes and experiences when accessing the termination service. A partially randomised preference trial and economic evaluation with follow-up at 2 weeks and 3 months. The Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Women accepted for termination of pregnancy (TOP) under the relevant Acts of Parliament with pregnancies < 14 weeks' gestation on the day of abortion. A further group of women attending contraception and sexual health clinics participated in a discrete choice experiment (DCE). STOP: all women > or = 6 weeks' and < 14 weeks' gestation were primed with misoprostol 400 micrograms 2 hours before the procedure. STOP was performed under general anaesthesia using vacuum aspiration. MTOP: all women < 14 weeks' gestation were given mifepristone 200 milligrams orally, returning 36-48 hours later for misoprostol. Main outcome measure was acceptability of TOP method. Secondary outcome measures included strength of preference by willingness to pay (WTP); distress, using the Impact of Event Scale (IES); anxiety and depression; satisfaction with care; experience of care; frequency and extent of symptoms including self-assessment of pain; clinical effectiveness; and complications. A DCE was used to identify attributes that shape women's preferences for abortion services. The trial recruited 1877 women, 349 in the randomised arms and 1528 in the preference arms. Of those in the preference arms, 54% chose MTOP. At 2 weeks after the procedure more women having STOP would choose the same method again in the future. Acceptability of MTOP declined with increasing gestational age. The difference in acceptability between STOP and MTOP persisted at 3 months. At 2 weeks after TOP, women in the preference arms were prepared to pay more to have their preferred option. There was no difference in anxiety or depression scores in women having MTOP or STOP. However, women randomised to MTOP had higher scores on subscales of the IES at both 2 weeks and 3 months. There was no difference in IES scores between MTOP and STOP in the preference arm. Women were more likely to be satisfied overall and with technical and interpersonal aspects of care if they had STOP rather than MTOP. Experience of care scores were lower after MTOP in both randomised and preference arms. During admission women undergoing MTOP had more symptoms and reported higher mean pain scores, and after discharge reported more nausea and diarrhoea. There were no differences in time taken to return to work between groups; around 90% had returned to work and normal activity by 2 weeks. Rates of unplanned or emergency admissions were higher after MTOP than after STOP. Overall complication rates were also higher after MTOP, although this only achieved statistical significance in the preference arm. Overall, STOP cost more than MTOP due to higher inpatient standard costs. Even though complication rates were higher with MTOP, it was still more cost-effective. DCE identified three attributes with an almost equal impact on women's preferences: provision of counselling, number of days delay to the procedure, and possibility of an overnight stay. MTOP was associated with more negative experiences of care and lower acceptability. Acceptability of MTOP declined with increasing gestational age. MTOP was less costly but also less effective than STOP. The majority of women choosing MTOP were satisfied with their care and found the procedure acceptable. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH: An audit of provision of MTOP and STOP in England and Wales is urgently required. Further studies exploring the barriers to offering women the choice of method of TOP are needed, together with research on the acceptability and effectiveness of (1) MTOP and manual VA in pregnancies below 9 weeks' gestation and (2) MTOP and dilatation and evacuation after 14 weeks' gestation. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN07823656.
 
BACKGROUND: There is controversy about the value of evidence about the effectiveness of healthcare interventions from non-randomised study designs. Advocates for quasi-experimental and observational (QEO) studies argue that evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) is often difficult or impossible to obtain, or is inadequate to answer the question of interest. Advocates for RCTs point out that QEO studies are more susceptible to bias and refer to published comparisons that suggest QEO estimates tend to find a greater benefit than RCT estimates. However, comparisons from the literature are often cited selectively, may be unsystematic and may have failed to distinguish between different explanations for any discrepancies observed. OBJECTIVES: The aim was to investigate the association between methodological quality and the magnitude of estimates of effectiveness by comparing systematically estimates of effectiveness derived from RCTs and QEO studies. Quantifying any such association should help healthcare decision-makers to judge the strength of evidence from non-randomised studies. Two strategies were used to minimise the influence of differences in external validity between RCTs and QEO studies: a comparison of the RCT and QEO study estimates of effectiveness of any intervention, where both estimates were reported in a single paper a comparison of the RCT and QEO study estimates of effectiveness for specified interventions, where the estimates were reported in different papers. The authors also sought to identify study designs that have been proposed to address one or more of the problems often found with conventional RCTs. METHODS: DATA SOURCES: Relevant literature was identified from: The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, DARE, and the Science Citation Index. References of relevant papers already identified experts. Electronic searches were very difficult to design and yielded few papers for the first strategy and when identifying study designs. CHOICE OF INTERVENTIONS TO REVIEW FOR STRATEGIES 1 AND 2: For strategy 1, any intervention was eligible. For strategy 2, interventions for which the population, intervention and outcome investigated were anticipated to be homogeneous across studies were selected for review: Mammographic screening (MSBC) of women to reduce mortality from breast cancer. Folic acid supplementation (FAS) to prevent neural tube defects in women trying to conceive. DATA EXTRACTION AND QUALITY ASSESSMENT: Data were extracted by the first author and checked by the second author. Disagreements were negotiated with reference to the paper concerned. For strategy 1, study quality was scored using a checklist to assess whether the RCT and QEO study estimates were derived from the same populations, whether the assessment of outcomes was 'blinded', and the extent to which the QEO study estimate took account of possible confounding. For strategy 2, a more detailed instrument was used to assess study quality on four dimensions: the quality of reporting, the generalisability of the results, and the extent to which estimates of effectiveness may have been subject to bias or confounding. All quality assessments were carried out by three people. DATA SYNTHESIS AND ANALYSIS: For strategy 1, pairs of comparisons between RCT and QEO study estimates were classified as high or low quality. Seven indices of the size of discrepancies between estimates of effect size and outcome frequency were calculated, where possible, for each comparison. Distributions of the size and direction of discrepancies were compared for high- and low-quality comparisons. FOR STRATEGY 2, THREE ANALYSES WERE CARRIED OUT: Attributes of the instrument were described by k statistics, percentage agreement, and Cronbach's a values. Regression analyses were used to investigate -variations in study quality. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)
 
To assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of oxaliplatin in combination with 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin (5-FU/LV), and capecitabine monotherapy (within their licensed indications), as adjuvant therapies in the treatment of patients with Stage III (Dukes' C) colon cancer after complete surgical resection of the primary tumour, as compared with adjuvant chemotherapy with an established fluorouracil-containing regimen. Ten electronic bibliographic databases were searched from inception to January 2005. Searches were supplemented by hand searching relevant articles, sponsor and other submissions of evidence to the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence and conference proceedings. A systematic review and meta-analysis (where appropriate) of clinical efficacy evidence and a cost-effectiveness review and economic modelling were carried out. Marginal costs, life years gained and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves were estimated. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis was used to generate information on the likelihood that each of the interventions was optimal. Three randomised active-controlled trials, of varying methodological quality, were included in the review. The MOSAIC trial and NSABP C-07 study considered the addition of oxaliplatin to adjuvant treatment (albeit administered in different 5-FU/LV regimens) and the X-ACT study compared oral capecitabine with bolus 5-FU/LV alone. A review of the available evidence indicated that in patients with Stage III colon cancer, oxaliplatin in combination with an infusional de Gramont schedule of 5-FU/LV (FOLFOX4) was more effective in preventing and delaying disease recurrence than infusional 5-FU/LV alone (de Gramont regimen). Serious adverse events and treatment discontinuations due to toxicity were more evident with oxaliplatin-based regimens (FOLFOX4 and FLOX regimen) than infusional or bolus 5-FU/LV alone (de Gramont and Roswell Park regimen). Oral capecitabine was at least equivalent in disease-free survival to the bolus Mayo Clinic 5-FU/LV regimen for patients with resected Stage III colon cancer. Although, the safety and tolerability profile of capecitabine was superior to that of the Mayo Clinic 5-FU/LV regimen, it has not been evaluated in comparison with other less toxic 5-FU/LV regimens currently in common use in the UK. Based on the assumptions and survival analysis methods used, the cost-effectiveness analysis using economic modelling estimated that capecitabine was a dominating strategy and resulted in a cost-saving of approximately pound 3320 per patient in comparison with the Mayo Clinic 5-FU/LV regimen, while also providing an additional 0.98 quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) over a 50-year model time horizon. Oxaliplatin in combination with 5-FU/LV (FOLFOX4 regimen) is estimated to cost an additional pound 2970 per QALY gained when compared with the de Gramont 5-FU/LV regimen and demonstrated superior survival outcomes with marginal costs. The uncertainty analysis suggests that both interventions have a high probability of being cost-effective at a threshold of both pound 20,000 and pound 30,000. An indirect comparison of the FOLFOX4 and Mayo Clinic 5-FU/LV regimens suggests that the use of FOLFOX4 in place of the Mayo Clinic 5-FU/LV regimen would cost an additional pound 5777 per QALY gained. An incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) is estimated to be approximately pound 13,000 per QALY gained from treatment with FOLFOX4 compared with capecitabine. However, if the Mayo Clinic and the de Gramont 5-FU/LV regimens are assumed to be equivalent in terms of effectiveness, the ICER of FOLFOX4 in comparison with capecitabine may be greater than pound 30,000 per QALY. The evidence suggests that both capecitabine and FOLFOX4 are clinically effective and cost-effective in comparison with 5-FU/LV regimens (Mayo Clinic and de Gramont schedules). Further research is suggested into the effectiveness, tolerability, patient acceptability and costs of different oxaliplatin/fluoropyrimidine schedules in the adjuvant setting; the effects of treatment duration on efficacy; adverse events; resource data collection strategies and reporting of summary statistics; subgroups benefiting most from adjuvant chemotherapy; and methods for estimating mean survival.
 
The localization of epileptogenic foci that are amenable to curative epilepsy surgery may be accomplished by noninvasive surface electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, clinical observations, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and neuropsychologic tests. Other tests, such as invasive EEG, 18F-fluoro-deoxyglucose-positron-emission tomography (FDG-PET or PET) scans, and single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans, have also been used at various epilepsy centers to help identify candidates who might benefit from such surgery. Interictal PET scans have demonstrated hypometabolism in areas concordant with the epileptogenic foci indicated by other diagnostic tests such as EEG and MRI. However, PET scans have also shown no abnormality in many patients with EEG-indicated epileptogenic foci; in others, the scans have shown abnormal metabolism in areas that were discordant with the epileptogenic foci. Although substitution of the noninvasive PET scan for the invasive EEG recordings would be desirable, the available data were insufficient to determine whether PET scans might serve as a reliable substitute for EEG. A positive PET scan might contribute independent information for identifying the epileptogenic site but could be noncontributory or confusing when hypometabolism is not seen or is seen in presumably normal brain areas. It is not evident from the data in the literature to what extent confirmatory PET scan findings might contribute to the management of patients with complex partial seizures.
 
From April 2009 to January 2010, the pandemic of A/H1N1 influenza affected the UK. There were > 30,000 infections and 457 deaths (all ages). Reports from other countries had indicated that certain comorbidities were associated with a higher risk of death from H1N1 infection, and there was a need to identify these factors in the UK population as knowledge of them could lead to improved treatment in the current epidemic and reduced mortality in future epidemics. To gather all the available clinical pathology information from autopsies performed on patients dying with known or suspected influenza A/H1N1 infection, across the UK. To evaluate comorbidities present in these deceased patients; correlate them with the H1N1-related pathology and treatment-associated pathology, determine their relative contributions and estimate the significant features associated with death. To obtain the autopsy reports, standard request letters were sent by e-mail to all histopathologists in the UK on the Royal College of Pathologists list, all the coroners' jurisdictions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to procurators fiscal in Scotland. The letters asked for autopsy reports of the autopsied deceased who included: those with H1N1 infection, proven before or after death, and those in whom swine flu was unproven but most likely to have been present; those in whom H1N1 was a minor pathology, as well as those in whom it was the immediate cause of death; those whose cause of death mentioned 'swine flu', 'swine influenza' or 'H1N1 infection'; and those of any age from infancy to old age. Sixty-eight autopsy reports were received: 19 children (0-15 years) and 49 adults (16 + years). All but two autopsies were medico-legal, and only two (3% of the total) were consented. This sample thus represents 15% of the known 457 deaths from H1N1. Median age for children at death was 6 years, for adults it was 41 years. Deaths in children were associated with congenital diseases (47%, 9/19), particularly of the heart and central nervous system. The autopsied children were not obese. Death in adults were associated with pregnancy (three cases in the study, but nationally 12/457 H1N1-associated deaths were noted), obesity (50% of adults had a body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m²) and chronic respiratory disease (12%, 6/49 adults). Diabetes did not emerge as a risk factor for death, but learning difficulties did. Nearly all the deaths (94%, 64/68) were a consequence of H1N1 infection in the respiratory tract. In more than one-third (41%, 28/68) of the deaths, bacterial secondary infection was the significant complication; the pneumococcus was the most common agent identified (25%, 7/28). This review is an incomplete medical study of what happened during the epidemic, and the small sample number (68 reports from 457 deaths) limits further speculation. We have no true measure of whether the cases selected for autopsy are representative of the total deaths in terms of pathology and comorbidities. The major comorbidities associated with death from H1N1 infection were obesity, chronic respiratory disease and pregnancy. Young age at death was confirmed. Congenital disease in children and learning difficulties in adults were also important, but diabetes was not. This methodology of gathering data for research has potential for use in other public health questions, but is dependent on the co-operation of the medico-legal services. These results reinforce the need to enquire further into the pathogenesis of severe and fatal H1N1 disease, and the circumstances of clinical presentation and rapid evaluation in a time of epidemic influenza. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
The objectives of the H1N1 2009 serological surveillance project were twofold: to document (1) the prevalence of cross-reactive antibodies to H1N1 2009 by age group in the population of England prior to arrival of the pandemic strain virus in the UK and (2) the age-specific incidence of infection by month as the pandemic progressed by measuring increases in the proportion of individuals with antibodies to H1N1 2009 by age. Residual aliquots of samples submitted to 16 microbiology laboratories in eight regions in England in defined age groups in 2008 and stored by the Health Protection Agency serological surveillance programme were used to document age-stratified prevalence of antibodies to H1N1 2009 prior to the arrival of the pandemic in the UK. Functional antibodies to the H1N1 2009 virus were measured by haemagglutination inhibition (HI) and microneutralisation (MN) assays. For timely measurement of monthly incidence of infection with H1N1 2009 between August 2009 and April 2010, the microbiology serum collections were supplemented by collection of residual sera from chemical pathology laboratories in England. Monthly seroincidence samples were tested by HI only, apart from the final sera collected post pandemic in 2010, which were also tested by MN. Incidence during the pandemic was estimated from changes in prevalence between time points and also by a likelihood-based method. Eight regions of England. Serum samples from patients accessing health care in England from whom blood samples were taken for unrelated microbiological or chemical pathology testing. None. Baseline age-specific prevalence of functional antibodies to the H1NI 2009 virus prior to the arrival of the pandemic; changes in antibody prevalence during the period August 2009 to April 2010. Pre-existing cross-reactive antibodies to H1N1 2009 were detected in the baseline sera and increased with age, particularly in those born before 1950. The prediction of immunological protection derived from the baseline serological analysis was consistent with the lower clinical attack rates in older age groups. The high levels of susceptibility in children < 15 years, together with their mixing within school, resulted in the highest attack rates in this age group. Serological analysis by region confirms that there were geographical differences in timing of major pandemic waves. London had a big first wave among the 5- to 14-year age group, with the rest of the country reducing the gap after the second wave. Cumulative incidence in London remained higher throughout the pandemic in each age group. By the end of the second wave it is estimated that as many as 70% of school-aged children in London had been infected. Taken together, these observations are consistent with observations from previous pandemics in 1918, 1957 and 1968 - that the major impact of influenza pandemics is on younger age groups, with a pattern of morbidity and mortality distinct from seasonal influenza epidemics. Serological analysis of appropriately structured, age-stratified and geographically representative samples can provide an immense amount of information to set in context other measures of pandemic impact in a population, and provide the most accurate measures of population exposure. National scale seroepidemiology studies require cross-agency coordination, multidisciplinary working, and considerable scientific resource. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme and the Health Protection Agency.
 
Study method.
Time and events schedule Study visit
Weekly cumulative recruitment by centre and by age.  
CHMP criteria satisfied by each dose of WV and AS03 A -adjuvanted vaccines
To evaluate the immunogenicity of a two-dose schedule of Baxter cell-cultured, non-adjuvanted, whole-virion H1N1 vaccine, and GlaxoSmithKline AS03(A)-adjuvanted split-virion H1N1 vaccine with respect to the EU Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensing criteria. An age-stratified, randomised, observer-blind, parallel-group, multicentre controlled trial was carried out in volunteers aged ≥ 18-44, ≥ 45-64 and ≥ 65 years. Three teaching hospitals in the UK (Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester; Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham; and Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield). Three hundred and forty-seven subjects were identified and randomised to AS03(A)-adjuvanted split-virion H1N1 vaccine or whole-virion (WV) vaccine in age groups [≥ 18-44 years (n = 140), ≥ 45-64 years (n = 136) and ≥ 65 years (n = 71)]. Vaccine was administered by intramuscular injection into the deltoid muscle of the non-dominant arm. One hundred and seventy-five randomised subjects were allocated AS03(A)-adjuvanted split H1N1 vaccine; one hundred and sixty-nine subjects had a second dose of the same vaccine 21 days later. One hundred and seventy-two subjects were allocated WV vaccine; one hundred and seventy-one subjects had a second dose of the same vaccine 21 days later. Serum samples for antibody measurements were collected on days 0 (before the first vaccination), 7, 14, 21 (before the second vaccination), 28, 35, 42 and 180. Subjects were observed for local and systemic reactions for 30 minutes after each injection, and for the next 7 days they recorded, in self-completed diaries, the severity of solicited local (pain, bruising, erythema and swelling) and systemic symptoms (chills, malaise, muscle aches, nausea and headache), oral temperature and use of analgesic medications. Vaccine immunogenicity using the CHMP and the FDA licensing criteria. Antibody titres were measured using haemagglutination inhibition (HI) and microneutralisation (MN) assays at baseline and 7, 14 and 21 days after each vaccination and at day 180. The three immunogenicity criteria end points were the seroprotection rate, the seroconversion rate and the mean-fold titre elevation. Both vaccine doses were given in 340 subjects (98%). Data from 680 (99%) of 687 issued diary cards were returned. Sera were obtained from 340 (98.0%), 333 (96.0%), 341 (98.3%), 331 (95.4%), 329 (94.8%) and 332 (95.7%) subjects on days 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42, respectively. Three hundred and forty-six and 345 subjects were included in the safety and immunogenicity analyses, respectively. Prevaccination antibody was detected by HI (titre ≥ 1 : 8) and MN (titre ≥ 1 : 10) in 14% and 31% of subjects, respectively. Among the 298 (85.9%) subjects without baseline antibody on HI assay, a titre of ≥ 1 : 40 (seroprotection) was achieved after a single dose of AS03(A)-adjuvanted vaccine and WV vaccine by day 21 in 93.0% and 65.5%, respectively, of subjects between 18 and 44 years, 76.4% and 36.1% of subjects between 45 and 64 years, and 53.1% and 30.0% of subjects ≥ 65 years. Among all 347 subjects, a titre of ≥ 1 : 40 was achieved after a single dose of AS03(A)-adjuvanted vaccine and WV vaccine by day 21 in 94.0% and 71.4%, respectively, of subjects between 18 and 44 years, 77.3% and 38.8% of subjects between 45 and 64 years, and 51.4% and 32.4% of subjects ≥ 65 years. The age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) for adjuvanted compared with WV vaccine, in terms of seroprotection, was 4.42 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.63 to 7.44, p < 0.001]. On day 42, among subjects without baseline antibody on HI assay, a titre of ≥ 1 : 40 was achieved after the second dose of AS03(A)-adjuvanted vaccine and WV vaccine by 100% and 67.9%, respectively, of subjects between 18 and 44 years, 89.3% and 41% of subjects between 45 and 64 years, and 76.5% and 34.5% of subjects ≥ 65 years. Among all 347 subjects, a titre of ≥ 1 : 40 was achieved on day 42 after the second dose of AS03(A)-adjuvanted vaccine and WV vaccine in 100% and 73.1%, respectively, of subjects between 18 and 44 years, 90.8% and 43.9% of subjects between 45 and 64 years, and 75.7% and 36.4% of subjects ≥ 65 years. The age-adjusted OR for adjuvanted vaccine compared with WV vaccine, in terms of seroprotection, was 11.21 (95% CI 5.80 to 21.64, p < 0.001). Age-related decline in antibody response occurred after both doses of both vaccines. WV vaccine was associated with fewer local and systemic reactions and lower immune responses than was AS03(A)-adjuvanted vaccine. The most frequent solicited local event was pain, reported by 28% and 76% of subjects after either dose of WV or adjuvanted vaccine, respectively (OR 7.71, 95% CI 4.48 to 13.24, p < 0.0001). The most common systemic event was myalgia, reported by 24% and 49% of subjects after either dose of WV or adjuvanted vaccine (OR 2.99, 95% CI 1.86 to 4.80, p < 0.0001). AS03(A)-adjuvanted 2009 H1N1 vaccine is more immunogenic and provides greater antigen-sparing capacity than WV 2009 H1N1 vaccine. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN92328241. This project was funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 14, No. 55. See the HTA programme website for further project information.
 
Standard treatments for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) include interferon-alpha (IFN-α) and lamivudine (LAM), but these are associated with adverse effects and viral resistance, respectively. The aim of this systematic review and economic evaluation was to assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of two alternative drugs for the treatment of adults with CHB: adefovir dipivoxil (ADV) and pegylated IFN-α-2a. We searched electronic databases, including Cochrane Systematic Reviews and Medline, for literature that met criteria defined in a research protocol. Retrieved articles were independently assessed for inclusion by two reviewers. We developed a Markov state transition model to estimate the cost-effectiveness (cost-utility) of pegylated IFN-α-2a and of ADV compared with nonpegylated IFN-α-2a, LAM and best supportive care. Seven randomized controlled trials and two systematic reviews met the inclusion criteria for our review of clinical effectiveness. ADV was significantly more effective than placebo or ongoing LAM in reducing levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA. Rates of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) seroconversion were higher among patients receiving ADV than either placebo or ongoing LAM. Patients treated with pegylated IFN-α-2a, either as monotherapy or in combination with LAM, showed significantly reduced HBV DNA levels compared with patients treated with LAM monotherapy. HBeAg seroconversion rates at follow-up were significantly higher for pegylated IFN-α-2a patients than for those receiving LAM monotherapy. Results of our cost-effectiveness analysis demonstrate that incremental costs per quality adjusted life year (QALY) for a range of comparisons were between £5994 and £16 569, and within the range considered by NHS decision-makers to represent good value for money.
 
To assess the clinical-effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of pegylated interferon-alpha combined with ribavirin in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Electronic databases, reference lists of retrieved reports, and the industry submissions to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Sources were rigorously searched and studies were selected that met the inclusion criteria of being randomised controlled trials (RCTs) involving comparisons between pegylated interferon-alpha plus ribavirin and non-pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (two trials) or pegylated interferon alone and non-pegylated interferon alone (four trials). The primary outcome in all trials was sustained virological response (SVR) at follow-up. The trials were generally of good quality, although reporting of methodological details could have been more thorough in places. A cost-effectiveness model followed a hypothetical cohort of 1000 individuals with chronic hepatitis C over a 30-year period. In the two trials that tested pegylated interferon plus ribavirin against non-pegylated interferon plus ribavirin the combined percentage of sustained virological response was 55%. The relative risk (RR) for remaining infected was reduced by 17% for pegylated interferon plus ribavirin compared with non-pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. Response to therapy varied according to viral genotype. Patients with genotype 1 had the lowest levels of sustained virological response and patients with genotype 2 or 3 had the highest. In the four trials that evaluated pegylated interferon monotherapy against non-pegylated interferon the combined sustained virological response rates were 31% for pegylated interferon and 14% for non-pegylated interferon. The RR for remaining infected with hepatitis C was reduced by 20% with the use of pegylated interferon. Patients with genotype 1 had the lowest levels of sustained virological response. There were also variations in sustained virological response according to other prognostic variables such as baseline viral load. Regimens involving pegylated interferon appear to be fairly well tolerated. Adverse events were been reported, but they did not differ substantially from levels of adverse events in regimens involving non-pegylated interferon. The incremental discounted cost per QALY for comparing no active treatment to 48 weeks of dual therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin (PEG + RBV) was 6045 pounds sterling. When moving from 48 weeks of dual therapy with non-pegylated interferon and ribavirin (IFN + RBV) to 48 weeks of dual therapy with PEG + RBV the figure was 12,123 pounds sterling. Subgroup analyses for dual PEG + RBV therapy demonstrated that the most favourable incremental discounted cost per QALY estimates were for patients infected with genotypes 2 and 3, and with low baseline viral load (3921 pounds sterling) compared with no active treatment. Results of one-way sensitivity analyses showed that the estimates varied according to differences in SVRs, drug costs and discount rates. In general estimates remained under 30,000 pounds sterling per QALY. The incremental discounted cost per QALY when moving from no active treatment to 48 weeks of monotherapy with pegylated interferon was 6484 pounds sterling. When moving from 48 weeks of monotherapy with IFN to 48 weeks of monotherapy with PEG the figure was 8404 pounds sterling. As with dual therapy, the lowest incremental cost per QALY was for patients with genotypes 2 and 3 and low baseline viral load, in the range 2641-4194 pounds sterling. The highest estimates were for patients with genotype 1 and high baseline viral load, around 30,000 pounds sterling. Well-designed RCTs show that patients treated with pegylated interferon, both as dual therapy and as monotherapy, experience higher sustained viral response rates than those treated with non-pegylated interferon. Patients with genotypes 2 and 3 experience the highest response, with rates in excess of 80%. Patients with the harder to treat genotype 1 nevertheless benefit, with up to 46% of patients experiencing an SVR in one of the trials. Pegylated interferon also appears to be relatively cost-effective in both monotherapy and dual therapy, with cost per QALY estimates remaining generally under 30,000 pounds sterling. The most favourable estimates were for patients with genotypes 2 and 3. Pegylated interferon is a relatively new intervention in the treatment of hepatitis C and therefore there are areas where further research is needed. These include: efficacies of therapy with PEG-alpha-2a vs PEG-alpha-2b; retreatment of previous non-responders using pegylated interferon; efficacy of treatments and long-term outcomes in patients who have other co-morbidities; prospective tests of rules governing stopping treatment; treating patients with acute hepatitis C; problems that may occur in a minority of patients with hepatitis C, such as cryoglobulinaemia and vasculitis; additional psychological effects on quality of life due to hepatitis C and also on the treatment of children and adolescents with hepatitis C.
 
EOS is a biplane X-ray imaging system manufactured by EOS Imaging (formerly Biospace Med, Paris, France). It uses slot-scanning technology to produce a high-quality image with less irradiation than standard imaging techniques. To determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of EOS two-dimensional (2D)/three-dimensional (3D) X-ray imaging system for the evaluation and monitoring of scoliosis and other relevant orthopaedic conditions. For the systematic review of EOS, electronic databases (MEDLINE, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, BIOSIS Previews, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, The Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Health Management Information Consortium, Inspec, ISI Science Citation Index and PASCAL), clinical trials registries and the manufacturer's website were searched from 1993 to November 2010. A systematic review of studies comparing EOS with standard X-ray [film, computed radiography (CR) or digital radiography] in any orthopaedic condition was performed. A narrative synthesis was undertaken. A decision-analytic model was developed to assess the cost-effectiveness of EOS in the relevant indications compared with standard X-ray and incorporated the clinical effectiveness of EOS and the adverse effects of radiation. The model incorporated a lifetime horizon to estimate outcomes in terms of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and costs from the perspective of the NHS. Three studies met the inclusion criteria for the review. Two studies compared EOS with film X-ray and one study compared EOS with CR. The three included studies were small and of limited quality. One study used an earlier version of the technology, the Charpak system. Both studies comparing EOS with film X-ray found image quality to be comparable or better with EOS overall. Radiation dose was considerably lower with EOS: ratio of means for posteroanterior spine was 5.2 (13.1 for the study using the Charpak system); ratio of means for the lateral spine was 6.2 (15.1 for the study using the Charpak system). The study comparing EOS with CR found image quality to be comparable or better with EOS. Radiation dose was considerably lower with EOS than CR; ratio of means for the centre of the back was 5.9 and for the proximal lateral point 8.8. The lowest ratio of means was at the nape of the neck, which was 2.9. No other outcomes were assessed in the included studies, such as implications for patient management from the nature and quality of the image. Patient throughput is the major determinant of the cost-effectiveness of EOS. The average cost per procedure of EOS decreases with utilisation. Using estimates of patient throughput at national level from Hospital Episode Statistics data suggests that EOS is not cost-effective for the indications considered. Throughput in the region of 15,100 to 26,500 (corresponding to a workload of 60 to 106 patient appointments per working day) for EOS compared with a throughput of only 7530 for CR (30 patient appointments per working day) is needed to achieve an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £30,000 per QALY. EOS can be shown to be cost-effective only when compared with CR if the utilisation for EOS is about double the utilisation of CR. The main limitation of the systematic review of the clinical effectiveness of EOS was the limited number and quality of the data available. In particular, there were no studies assessing the potential health benefits arising from the quality and nature of the image, over and above those associated with reduced radiation exposure. Uncertainty in the model inputs was not fully explored owing to a lack of reporting of standard deviations or confidence intervals in the published literature for most of the parameters. As a result, uncertainty in the cost-effectiveness results was not presented. Radiation dose is considerably lower with EOS than standard X-ray, whereas image quality remains comparable or better with EOS. However, the long-term health benefits from reduced radiation exposure with EOS are very small and there was a lack of data on other potential patient health benefits. The implications of any changes in the quality and nature of the EOS image compared with standard X-ray, for patient health outcomes, needs to be assessed. Given the higher cost of an EOS machine, utilisation is the major determinant of cost-effectiveness. Estimates of patient throughput at national level suggest that EOS is not cost-effective. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
Mapping of items currently included in the MORI survey with evidence-based determinants of behaviour and behavioural responses Evidence that predicts behaviour No evidence that predicts behaviour 
Changes over time in survey data. 
To assess the association between levels of worry about the possibility of catching swine flu and the volume of media reporting about it; the role of psychological factors in predicting likely uptake of the swine flu vaccine; and the role of media coverage and advertising in predicting other swine flu-related behaviours. Data from a series of random-digit-dial telephone surveys were analysed. A time series analysis tested the association between levels of worry and the volume of media reporting on the start day of each survey. Cross-sectional regression analyses assessed the relationships between likely vaccine uptake or behaviour and predictor variables. Thirty-six surveys were run at, on average, weekly intervals across the UK between 1 May 2009 and 10 January 2010. Five surveys (run between 14 August and 13 September) were used to assess likely vaccine uptake. Five surveys (1-17 May) provided data relating to other behaviours. Between 1047 and 1173 people aged 16 years or over took part in each survey: 5175 participants provided data about their likely uptake of the swine flu vaccine; 5419 participants provided data relating to other behaviours. All participants were asked to state how worried they were about the possibility of personally catching swine flu. Subsets were asked how likely they were to take up a swine flu vaccination if offered it and whether they had recently carried tissues with them, bought sanitising hand gel, avoided using public transport or had been to see a general practitioner, visited a hospital or called NHS Direct for a flu-related reason. The percentage of 'very' or 'fairly' worried participants fluctuated between 9.6% and 32.9%. This figure was associated with the volume of media reporting, even after adjusting for the changing severity of the outbreak [chi2(1) = 6.6, p = 0.010, coefficient for log-transformed data = 2.6]. However, this effect only occurred during the UK's first summer wave of swine flu. In total, 56.1% of respondents were very or fairly likely to accept the swine flu vaccine. The strongest predictors were being very worried about the possibility of oneself [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 4.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.2 to 7.0] or one's child (aOR 8.0, 95% CI 4.6 to 13.9) catching swine flu. Overall, 33.1% of participants reporting carrying tissues with them, 9.5% had bought sanitising gel, 2.0% had avoided public transport and 1.6% had sought medical advice. Exposure to media coverage or advertising about swine flu increased tissue carrying or buying of sanitising hand gel, and reduced avoidance of public transport or consultation with health services during early May 2009. Path analyses showed that media coverage and advertising had these differential effects because they raised the perceived efficacy of hygiene behaviours but decreased the perceived efficacy of avoidance behaviours. During the swine flu outbreak, uptake rates for protective behaviours and likely acceptance rates for vaccination were low. One reason for this may in part be explained by was the low level of public worry about the possibility of catching swine flu. When levels of worry are generally low, acting to increase the volume of mass media and advertising coverage is likely to increase the perceived efficacy of recommended behaviours, which, in turn, is likely to increase their uptake.
 
To determine whether non-invasive ventilation reduces mortality and whether there are important differences in outcome by treatment modality. Multicentre open prospective randomised controlled trial. Patients presenting with severe acute cardiogenic pulmonary oedema in 26 emergency departments in the UK. Inclusion criteria were age > 16 years, clinical diagnosis of acute cardiogenic pulmonary oedema, pulmonary oedema on chest radiograph, respiratory rate > 20 breaths per minute, and arterial hydrogen ion concentration > 45 nmol/l (pH < 7.35). Patients were randomised to standard oxygen therapy, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) (5-15 cmH2O) or non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) (inspiratory pressure 8-20 cmH2O, expiratory pressure 4-10 cmH2O) on a 1:1:1 basis for a minimum of 2 hours. The primary end point for the comparison between NIPPV or CPAP and standard therapy was 7-day mortality. The composite primary end point for the comparison of NIPPV and CPAP was 7-day mortality and tracheal intubation rate. Secondary end points were breathlessness, physiological variables, intubation rate, length of hospital stay and critical care admission rate. Economic evaluation took the form of a cost-utility analysis, taken from an NHS (and personal social services) perspective. In total, 1069 patients [mean age 78 (SD 10) years; 43% male] were recruited to standard therapy (n = 367), CPAP [n = 346; mean 10 (SD 4) cmH2O] or NIPPV [n = 356; mean 14 (SD 5)/7 (SD 2) cmH2O]. There was no difference in 7-day mortality for standard oxygen therapy (9.8%) and non-invasive ventilation (9.5%; p = 0.87). The combined end point of 7-day death and intubation rate was similar, irrespective of non-invasive ventilation modality (CPAP 11.7% versus NIPPV 11.1%; p = 0.81). Compared with standard therapy, non-invasive ventilation was associated with greater reductions (treatment difference, 95% confidence intervals) in breathlessness (visual analogue scale score 0.7, 0.2-1.3; p = 0.008) and heart rate (4/min, 1-6; p = 0.004) and improvement in acidosis (pH 0.03, 0.02-0.04; p < 0.001) and hypercapnia (0.7 kPa, 0.4-0.9; p < 0.001) at 1 hour. There were no treatment-related adverse events or differences in other secondary outcomes such as myocardial infarction rate, length of hospital stay, critical care admission rate and requirement for endotracheal intubation. Economic evaluation showed that mean costs and QALYs up to 6 months were 3023 pounds and 0.202 for standard therapy, 3224 pounds and 0.213 for CPAP, and 3208 pounds and 0.210 for NIPPV. Modelling of lifetime costs and QALYs produced values of 15,764 pounds and 1.597 for standard therapy, 17,525 pounds and 1.841 for CPAP, and 17,021 pounds and 1.707 for NIPPV. These results suggest that both CPAP and NIPPV accrue more QALYs but at higher cost than standard therapy. However, these estimates are subject to substantial uncertainty. Non-invasive ventilatory support delivered by either CPAP or NIPPV safely provides earlier improvement and resolution of breathlessness, respiratory distress and metabolic abnormality. However, this does not translate into improved short- or longer-term survival. We recommend that CPAP or NIPPV should be considered as adjunctive therapy in patients with severe acute cardiogenic pulmonary oedema in the presence of severe respiratory distress or when there is a failure to improve with pharmacological therapy. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN07448447.
 
Magnesium sulphate, administered by the intravenous (i.v.) or inhaled (nebulised) route, has been proposed as a treatment for adults with acute severe asthma. Existing trials show mixed results and uncertain evidence of benefit. We aimed to determine whether i.v. or nebulised magnesium sulphate improves symptoms of breathlessness and reduces the need for hospital admission in adults with acute severe asthma. Multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled, three-arm, randomised trial. The emergency departments of 34 acute hospitals in the UK. We recruited 1109 adults (age > 16 years) with acute severe asthma [peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) < 50% of best/predicted, respiratory rate > 25 breaths per minute, heart rate > 110 beats per minute or inability to complete sentences in one breath]. Patients with life-threatening features or a contraindication to either nebulised or intravenous magnesium sulphate were excluded. Participants were randomly allocated to i.v. magnesium sulphate (2 g over 20 minutes) or nebulised magnesium sulphate (3 × 500 mg over 1 hour) or standard therapy alone. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients admitted to hospital (either after emergency department treatment or at any time over the subsequent 7 days) and breathlessness measured on a 100-mm visual analogue scale (VAS) over 2 hours after initiation of treatment. We randomised 406 patients to i.v. magnesium sulphate, 339 to nebulised magnesium sulphate and 364 to placebo. Hospital admission was recorded for 394, 332 and 358 patients, respectively, and VAS breathlessness for 357, 296 and 323 patients respectively. Mean age was 36.1 years and 763 out of 1084 (70%) patients were female. Intravenous magnesium sulphate was associated with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.73 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.51 to 1.04; p = 0.083] for hospital admission, an improvement in VAS breathlessness that was 2.6 mm (95% CI -1.6 to 6.8 mm; p = 0.231) greater than that associated with placebo and an improvement in PEFR that was 2.4 l/minute (95% CI -8.8 to 13.6 l/minute; p = 0.680) greater than that associated with placebo. Nebulised magnesium sulphate was associated with an OR of 0.96 (95% CI 0.65 to 1.40; p = 0.819) for hospital admission, an improvement in VAS breathlessness that was 2.6 mm (95% CI -1.8 mm to 7.0 mm; p = 0.253) less than that associated with placebo and an improvement in PEFR that was 2.6 l/minute (95% CI -9.2 to 14.5 l/minute; p = 0.644) less than that associated with placebo. There were no significant differences between i.v. or nebulised magnesium sulphate and placebo for any other outcomes. The number (%) of patients reporting any side effect was 61 (15.5%) in the i.v. group, 52 (15.7%) in the nebuliser group and 36 (10.1%) in the placebo group. The ORs for suffering any side effect were 1.68 (95% CI 1.07 to 2.63; p = 0.025) for i.v. compared with placebo and 1.67 (95% CI 1.05 to 2.66; p = 0.031) for nebuliser compared with placebo. We were unable to demonstrate a clinically worthwhile benefit from magnesium sulphate in acute severe asthma. There was some weak evidence of an effect of i.v. magnesium sulphate on hospital admission, but no evidence of an effect on VAS breathlessness or PEFR compared with placebo. We found no evidence that nebulised magnesium sulphate was more effective than placebo. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN04417063. This project was funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 18, No. 22. See the NIHR Journals Library programme website for further project information.
 
Imatinib dose escalation is advocated for gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) treatment, but its effectiveness compared with sunitinib and best supportive care (BSC) after failure at the 400 mg/day dose is unknown. To assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of imatinib at escalated doses of 600 or 800 mg/day for patients with unresectable and/or metastatic GISTs whose disease had progressed on 400 mg/day. Electronic databases, including MEDLlNE, MEDLINE In-Process, EMBASE, BIOSIS, Science Citation Index, Health Management Information Consortium and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, were searched until September 2009. A systematic review of the literature was carried out according to standard methods. An economic model was constructed to assess the cost-effectiveness of seven alternative pathways for treating patients with unresectable and/or metastatic GISTs. Five primary studies involving 669 people were included for clinical effectiveness; four reported imatinib and one reported sunitinib. The data were essentially observational as none of the studies was designed to specifically assess treatment of patients whose disease had progressed on 400 mg/day imatinib. For 600 mg/day imatinib, between 26% and 42% of patients showed either a partial response (PR) or stable disease (SD). Median time to progression was 1.7 months (range 0.7-24.9 months). For 800 mg/day imatinib, between 29% and 33% of patients showed either a PR or SD. Median overall survival (OS) was 19 months [95% confidence interval (CI) 13 to 23 months]. Progression-free survival ranged from 81 days to 5 months (95% CI 2 to 10 months). Median duration of response was 153 days (range 37-574 days). Treatment progression led to 88% discontinuations but between 16% and 31% of patients required a dose reduction, and 23% required a dose delay. There was a statistically significant increase in the severity of fatigue (p < 0.001) and anaemia (p = 0.015) following dose escalation. For sunitinib, median OS was 90 weeks (95% CI 73 to 106 weeks). For the cost-effectiveness review, only one full-text study and one abstract were identified, comparing imatinib at an escalated dose, sunitinib and BSC, although neither was based on a UK context. The definition of BSC was not consistent across the studies, and the pattern of resources (including drugs for treatment) and measures of effectiveness also varied. Within the model, BSC (assumed to include continuing medication to prevent tumour flare) was the least costly and least effective. It would be the care pathway most likely to be cost-effective when the cost per quality-adjusted life-year threshold was < £25,000. Imatinib at 600 mg/day was most likely to be cost-effective at a threshold between £25,000 and £45,000. Imatinib at 600 mg/day followed by further escalation followed by sunitinib was most likely to be cost-effective at a threshold > £45,000. The evidence base was sparse, data were non-randomised and potentially biased. The economic model results are surrounded by a considerable degree of uncertainty and open to biases of unknown magnitude and direction. Around one-third of patients with unresectable and/or metastatic GIST, who fail on 400 mg/day of imatinib, may show response or SD with escalated doses. Between a threshold of £25,000 and £45,000, provision of an escalated dose of imatinib would be most likely to be cost-effective. However, these results should be interpreted with caution owing to the limited evidence available on outcomes following imatinib dose escalation or sunitinib for this group of patients. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
Background: Total hip replacement (THR) involves the replacement of a damaged hip joint with an artificial hip prosthesis. Resurfacing arthroplasty (RS) involves replacement of the joint surface of the femoral head with a metal surface covering. Objectives: To undertake clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness analysis of different types of THR and RS for the treatment of pain and disability in people with end-stage arthritis of the hip, in particular to compare the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of (1) different types of primary THR and RS for people in whom both procedures are suitable and (2) different types of primary THR for people who are not suitable for hip RS. Data sources: Electronic databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, Current Controlled Trials and UK Clinical Research Network (UKCRN) Portfolio Database were searched in December 2012, with searches limited to publications from 2008 and sample sizes of ≥ 100 participants. Reference lists and websites of manufacturers and professional organisations were also screened. Review methods: Systematic reviews of the literature were undertaken to appraise the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different types of THR and RS for people with end-stage arthritis of the hip. Included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews were data extracted and risk of bias and methodological quality were independently assessed by two reviewers using the Cochrane Collaboration risk of bias tool and the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) tool. A Markov multistate model was developed for the economic evaluation of the technologies. Sensitivity analyses stratified by sex and controlled for age were carried out to assess the robustness of the results. Results: A total of 2469 records were screened of which 37 were included, representing 16 RCTs and eight systematic reviews. The mean post-THR Harris Hip Score measured at different follow-up times (from 6 months to 10 years) did not differ between THR groups, including between cross-linked polyethylene and traditional polyethylene cup liners (pooled mean difference 2.29, 95% confidence interval -0.88 to 5.45). Five systematic reviews reported evidence on different types of THR (cemented vs. cementless cup fixation and implant articulation materials) but these reviews were inconclusive. Eleven cost-effectiveness studies were included; four provided relevant cost and utility data for the model. Thirty registry studies were included, with no studies reporting better implant survival for RS than for all types of THR. For all analyses, mean costs for RS were higher than those for THR and mean quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were lower. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for RS was dominated by THR, that is, THR was cheaper and more effective than RS (for a lifetime horizon in the base-case analysis, the incremental cost of RS was £11,284 and the incremental QALYs were -0.0879). For all age and sex groups RS remained clearly dominated by THR. Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves showed that, for all patients, THR was almost 100% cost-effective at any willingness-to-pay level. There were age and sex differences in the populations with different types of THR and variations in revision rates (from 1.6% to 3.5% at 9 years). For the base-case analysis, for all age and sex groups and a lifetime horizon, mean costs for category E (cemented components with a polyethylene-on-ceramic articulation) were slightly lower and mean QALYs for category E were slightly higher than those for all other THR categories in both deterministic and probabilistic analyses. Hence, category E dominated the other four categories. Sensitivity analysis using an age- and sex-adjusted log-normal model demonstrated that, over a lifetime horizon and at a willingness-to-pay threshold of £20,000 per QALY, categories A and E were equally likely (50%) to be cost-effective. Limitations: A large proportion of the included studies were inconclusive because of poor reporting, missing data, inconsistent results and/or great uncertainty in the treatment effect estimates. This warrants cautious interpretation of the findings. The evidence on complications was scarce, which may be because of the absence or rarity of these events or because of under-reporting. The poor reporting meant that it was not possible to explore contextual factors that might have influenced study results and also reduced the applicability of the findings to routine clinical practice in the UK. The scope of the review was limited to evidence published in English in 2008 or later, which could be interpreted as a weakness; however, systematic reviews would provide summary evidence for studies published before 2008. Conclusions: Compared with THR, revision rates for RS were higher, mean costs for RS were higher and mean QALYs gained were lower; RS was dominated by THR. Similar results were obtained in the deterministic and probabilistic analyses and for all age and sex groups THR was almost 100% cost-effective at any willingness-to-pay level. Revision rates for all types of THR were low. Category A THR (cemented components with a polyethylene-on-metal articulation) was more cost-effective for older age groups. However, across all age-sex groups combined, the mean cost for category E THR (cemented components with a polyethylene-on-ceramic articulation) was slightly lower and the mean QALYs gained were slightly higher. Category E therefore dominated the other four categories. Certain types of THR appeared to confer some benefit, including larger femoral head sizes, use of a cemented cup, use of a cross-linked polyethylene cup liner and a ceramic-on-ceramic as opposed to a metal-on-polyethylene articulation. Further RCTs with long-term follow-up are needed. Study registration: This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42013003924. Funding: The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
Background: Women with a significant family history of breast cancer are often offered more intensive and earlier surveillance than is offered to the general population in the National Breast Screening Programme. Up to now, this strategy has not been fully evaluated. Objective: To evaluate the benefit of mammographic surveillance for women aged 40-49 years at moderate risk of breast cancer due to family history. The study is referred to as FH01. Design: This was a single-arm cohort study with recruitment taking place between January 2003 and February 2007. Recruits were women aged < 50 years with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer conferring at least a 3% risk of breast cancer between ages 40 and 49 years. The women were offered annual mammography for at least 5 years and observed for the occurrence of breast cancer during the surveillance period. The age group 40-44 years was targeted so that they would still be aged < 50 years after 5 years of surveillance. Setting: Seventy-four surveillance centres in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Participants: A total of 6710 women, 94% of whom were aged < 45 years at recruitment, with a family history of breast cancer estimated to imply at least a 3% risk of the disease between the ages of 40 and 50 years. Interventions: Annual mammography for at least 5 years. Main outcome measures: The primary study end point was the predicted risk of death from breast cancer as estimated from the size, lymph node status and grade of the tumours diagnosed. This was compared with the control group from the UK Breast Screening Age Trial (Age Trial), adjusting for the different underlying incidence in the two populations. Results: As of December 2010, there were 165 breast cancers diagnosed in 37,025 person-years of observation and 30,556 mammographic screening episodes. Of these, 122 (74%) were diagnosed at screening. The cancers included 44 (27%) cases of ductal carcinoma in situ. There were 19 predicted deaths in 37,025 person-years in FH01, with an estimated incidence of 6.3 per 1000 per year. The corresponding figures for the Age Trial control group were 204 predicted deaths in 622,127 person-years and an incidence of 2.4 per 1000 per year. This gave an estimated 40% reduction in breast cancer mortality (relative risk = 0.60; 95% confidence interval 0.37 to 0.98; p = 0.04). Conclusions: Annual mammography in women aged 40-49 years with a significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer is both clinically effective in reducing breast cancer mortality and cost-effective. There is a need to further standardise familial risk assessment, to research the impact of digital mammography and to clarify the role of breast density in this population. Trial registration: National Research Register N0484114809. Funding: This project was funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 17, No. 11. See the HTA programme website for further project information.
 
EQ-5D is a widely used generic measure of health with a 'tariff', or preference weights, obtained from the general population, using time trade-off (TTO). PRET (Preparatory study for the Re-valuation of the EQ-5D Tariff project) contributes towards the methodology for its revaluation. Stage 1 examined key assumptions typically involved in health-state valuations through a series of binary choice exercises, namely that health-state preferences are independent of (1) duration of the state; (2) whose health it is (i.e. perspective); (3) length of 'lead time' (a mechanism to value all states on the same scale, including those who are worse than being dead); (4) when health events take place (time preference); and (5) satisfaction associated with the state. Further topics addressed were (6) exhaustion of lead time in the worst state; (7) health-state valuation using discrete choice experiments (DCEs) with a duration attribute; and (8) binary choice administration of lead time - time trade-off (LT-TTO). Stage 1 consisted of an online survey with 6000 respondents. Stage 2 compared the results above to those of an identical survey conducted in 200 face-to-face computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPIs), covering topics (1) to (7). Stages 3 and 4 examined - in more detail and depth - issues taken from stage 1. Stage 3 consisted of CAPI surveys of a representative UK sample of 300, using examples of TTO, LT-TTO, and DCE with duration, each followed by extensive feedback questions. Stage 4 was a more intensive exercise involving a qualitative analysis of people's thought processes during both binary choice and iterative health-state valuation exercises. Data were collected through 'think-aloud' methods in 30 interviews of a convenience sample. Stage 1 found that health-state values are not independent of (1) duration of the state but there is no clear pattern; (2) whose health it is; (3) the duration of 'lead time' but there was no clear pattern; (4) when health events take place; or (5) satisfaction associated with the state. Furthermore, (6) exhaustion of lead time in the worst state was subject to substantial framing effects; (7) the five-level version of the EQ-5D (EQ-5D-5L) can be valued using DCE with duration as an attribute; and (8) binary choice LT-TTO can be administered in an online environment. Stage 2 found that although online surveys and CAPI surveys resulted in different compositions of respondents, at the aggregate, their responses to the experimental questions covering (1) to (7) above were not statistically significantly different from each other. Stages 3 and 4 found that TTO and LT-TTO were easier than DCE with duration; respondents did not necessarily trade across all attributes of EQ-5D; some respondents found it difficult to distinguish between the two worst levels of EQ-5D-5L, and some respondents may be thinking about the impact of their ill health on their family. In order for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to make the most appropriate decisions, the EQ-5D tariff needs to incorporate the latest understanding of health-state preferences. PRET contributed to the knowledge base on the conduct of health-state valuation studies. The Medical Research Council (MRC)-National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Methodology Research Programme funded the PRET project (MRC ref. G0901500), and the EuroQol Group funded the PRET-AS project (Preparatory study for the Re-valuation of the EQ-5D Tariff project - Additional Sample) as an extension to the PRET project with formal agreement from the MRC.
 
To assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, in different patient groups, of the use of 64-slice or higher computed tomography (CT) angiography, instead of invasive coronary angiography (CA), for diagnosing people with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD) and assessing people with known CAD. Electronic databases were searched from 2002 to December 2006. Included studies were tabulated and sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values calculated. Meta-analysis models were fitted using hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic curves. Summary sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios and diagnostic odds ratios for each model were reported as a median and 95% credible interval (CrI). Searches were also carried out for studies on the cost-effectiveness of 64-slice CT in the assessment of CAD. The diagnostic accuracy and prognostic studies enrolled over 2500 and 1700 people, respectively. The overall quality of the studies was reasonably good. In the pooled estimates, 64-slice CT angiography was highly sensitive (99%, 95% CrI 97 to 99%) for patient-based detection of significant CAD (defined as 50% or more stenosis), while across studies the negative predictive value (NPV) was very high (median 100%, range 86 to 100%). In segment-level analysis compared with patient-based detection, sensitivity was lower (90%, 95% CrI 85 to 94%, versus 99%, 95% CrI 97 to 99%) and specificity higher (97%, 95% CrI 95 to 98%, versus 89%, 95% CrI 83 to 94%), while across studies the median NPV was similar (99%, range 95 to 100%, versus 100%, range 86 to 100%). At individual coronary artery level the pooled estimates for sensitivity ranged from 85% for the left circumflex (LCX) artery to 95% for the left main artery, specificity ranged from 96% for both the left anterior descending (LAD) artery and LCX to 100% for the left main artery, while across studies the positive predictive value (PPV) ranged from 81% for the LCX to 100% for the left main artery and NPV was very high, ranging from 98% for the LAD (range 95 to 100%), LCX (range 93 to 100%) and right coronary artery (RCA) (range 94 to 100%) to 100% for the left main artery. The pooled estimates for bypass graft analysis were 99% (95% CrI 95 to 100%) sensitivity, 96% (95% CrI 86 to 99%) specificity, with median PPV and NPV values across studies of 93% (range 90 to 95%) and 99% (range 98 to 100%), respectively. This compares with, for stent analysis, a pooled sensitivity of 89% (95% CrI 68 to 97%), specificity 94% (95% CrI 83 to 98%), and median PPV and NPV values across studies of 77% (range 33 to 100%) and 96% (range 71 to 100%), respectively. Sixty-four-slice CT is almost as good as invasive CA in terms of detecting true positives. However, it is somewhat poorer in its rate of false positives. It seems likely that diagnostic strategies involving 64-slice CT will still require invasive CA for CT test positives, partly to identify CT false positives, but also because CA provides other information that CT currently does not, notably details of insertion site and distal run-off for possible coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). The high sensitivity of 64-slice CT avoids the costs of unnecessary CA in those referred for investigation but who do not have CAD. Given the possible, although small, associated death rate, avoiding these unnecessary CAs through the use of 64-slice CT may also confer a small immediate survival advantage. This in itself may be sufficient to outweigh the very marginally inferior rates of detection of true positives by strategies involving 64-slice CT. The avoidance of unnecessary CA through the use of 64-slice CT also appears likely to result in overall cost savings in the diagnostic pathway. Only if both the cost of CA is relatively low and the prevalence of CAD in the presenting population is relatively high (so that most patients will go on to CA) will the use of 64-slice CT be likely to result in a higher overall diagnostic cost per patient. The main value of 64-slice CT may at present be to rule out significant CAD. It is unlikely to replace CA in assessment for revascularisation of patients, particularly as angiography and angioplasty are often done on the same occasion. Further research is needed into the marginal advantages and costs of 256-slice machines compared with 64-slice CT, the usefulness of 64-slice CT in people with suspected acute coronary syndrome, the potential of multislice computed tomography to examine plaque morphology, the role of CT in identifying patients suitable for CABG, and the concerns raised about repetitive use, or use of 64-slice or higher CT angiography in younger individuals or women of childbearing age.
 
To determine the most cost-effective method of screening for atrial fibrillation (AF) in the population aged 65 years and over, as well as its prevalence and incidence in this age group. Also to evaluate the relative cost-effectiveness of different methods of recording and interpreting the electrocardiogram (ECG) within a screening programme. Multicentred randomised controlled trial. Purposefully selected general practices were randomly allocated to 25 intervention practices and 25 control practices. Fifty primary care centres across the West Midlands, UK. Patients aged 65 years and over. GPs and practice nurses in the intervention practices received education on the importance of AF detection and ECG interpretation. Patients in the intervention practices were randomly allocated to systematic (n = 5000) or opportunistic screening (n = 5000). Prospective identification of pre-existing risk factors for AF within the screened population enabled comparison between targeted screening of people at higher risk of AF and total population screening. AF detection rates in systematically screened and opportunistically screened populations in the intervention practices were compared with AF detection rate in 5000 patients in the control practices. The screening period was 12 months. Baseline prevalence of AF was 7.2%, with a higher prevalence in males (7.8%) and patients aged 75 years and over (10.3%). The control population demonstrated higher baseline prevalence (7.9%) than either the systematic (6.9%) or opportunistic (6.9%) intervention population. In the control population 47 new cases were detected (incidence 1.04% per year). In the opportunistic arm 243 patients without a baseline diagnosis of AF were found to have an irregular pulse, with 177 having an ECG, yielding 31 new cases (incidence 0.69% per year). A further 44 cases were detected outside the screening programme (overall incidence 1.64% per year). In the systematic arm 2357 patients had an ECG yielding 52 new cases (incidence 1.1% per year). Of these, 31 were detected by targeted screening and a further 21 by total population screening. A further 22 cases were detected outside the screening programme (overall incidence 1.62% per year). In terms of ECG interpretation, computerised decision support software (CDSS) gave a sensitivity of 87.3%, a specificity of 99.1% and a positive predictive value (PPV) of 89.5% compared with the gold standard (cardiologist reporting). GPs and practice nurses performed less well. The only difference in performance between intervention populations and controls was that practice nurses from the control arm performed less well than with intervention practice nurses on interpretation of limb-lead (PPV 38.8% versus 20.8%) and single-lead (PPV 37.7% versus 24.0%) ECGs. The within-trial economic evaluation results showed the lowest incremental cost to be for the opportunistic arm, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of 337 pounds Sterling for each additional case detected compared to the control arm. Opportunistic screening dominated both more intensive screening strategies. Model-based analyses showed small differences in cost and quality-adjusted life-years for different methods and intensities of screening, but annual opportunistic screening resulted in the lowest number of ischaemic strokes and greatest proportion of cases of AF diagnosed. Probabilistic sensitivity results indicated that there was a probability of approximately 60% that screening from the age of 65 years was cost-effective in both men and women. The results of the study indicated that in terms of a screening programme for atrial fibrillation in patients 65 and over, the only strategy that improved on routine practice was opportunistic screening, model-based analyses indicated that there was a probability of approximately 60% of annual opportunistic screening being cost effective. It is suggested that the following topics are worthy of further investigation: the effect of the implementation of a screening programme for AF on the uptake and maintenance of anticoagulation in patients aged 65 years and over; an evaluation of the role of CDSS in the diagnosis of cardiac arrythmias; the best method for routinely detecting paroxysmal AF; ways of improving healthcare professionals' performance in ECG interpretation; development of a robust economic model to incorporate data on new therapeutic agents for use as thromboprophylactic agents for patients with AF, and an evaluation of the relative risk of stroke for patients with incident as opposed to prevalent AF.
 
To determine the cost-effectiveness of influenza vaccination in people aged 65-74 years in the absence of co-morbidity. Primary research: randomised controlled trial. Primary care. People without risk factors for influenza or contraindications to vaccination were identified from 20 general practitioner (GP) practices in Liverpool in September 1999 and invited to participate in the study. There were 5875/9727 (60.4%) people aged 65-74 years identified as potentially eligible and, of these, 729 (12%) were randomised. Participants were randomised to receive either influenza vaccine or placebo (ratio 3:1), with all individuals receiving pneumococcal vaccine unless administered in the previous 10 years. Of the 729 people randomised, 552 received vaccine and 177 received placebo; 726 individuals were administered pneumococcal vaccine. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES AND METHODOLOGY OF ECONOMIC EVALUATION: GP attendance with influenza-like illness (ILI) or pneumonia (primary outcome measure); or any respiratory symptoms; hospitalisation with a respiratory illness; death; participant self-reported ILI; quality of life (QoL) measures at 2, 4 and 6 months post-study vaccination; adverse reactions 3 days after vaccination. A cost-effectiveness analysis was undertaken to identify the incremental cost associated with the avoidance of episodes of influenza in the vaccination population and an impact model was used to extrapolate the cost-effectiveness results obtained from the trial to assess their generalisability throughout the NHS. In England and Wales, weekly consultations for influenza and ILI remained at baseline levels (less than 50 per 100,000 population) until week 50/1999 and then increased rapidly, peaking during week 2/2000 with a rate of 231/100,000. This rate fell within the range of 'higher than expected seasonal activity' of 200-400/100,000. Rates then quickly declined, returning to baseline levels by week 5/2000. The predominant circulating strain during this period was influenza A (H3N2). Five (0.9%) people in the vaccine group were diagnosed by their GP with an ILI compared to two (1.1%) in the placebo group [relative risk (RR), 0.8; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.16 to 4.1]. No participants were diagnosed with pneumonia by their GP and there were no hospitalisations for respiratory illness in either group. Significantly fewer vaccinated individuals self-reported a single ILI (4.6% vs 8.9%, RR, 0.51; 95% CI for RR, 0.28 to 0.96). There was no significant difference in any of the QoL measurements over time between the two groups. Reported systemic side-effects showed no significant differences between groups. Local side-effects occurred with a significantly increased incidence in the vaccine group (11.3% vs 5.1%, p = 0.02). Each GP consultation avoided by vaccination was estimated from trial data to generate a net NHS cost of 174 pounds. No difference was seen between groups for the primary outcome measure, although the trial was underpowered to demonstrate a true difference. Vaccination had no significant effect on any of the QoL measures used, although vaccinated individuals were less likely to self-report ILI. The analysis did not suggest that influenza vaccination in healthy people aged 65-74 years would lead to lower NHS costs. Future research should look at ways to maximise vaccine uptake in people at greatest risk from influenza and also the level of vaccine protection afforded to people from different age and socio-economic populations.
 
To evaluate the clinical effectiveness and incremental cost-effectiveness of amantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir for seasonal and post-exposure prophylaxis of influenza. A MEDLINE search strategy was used and searches were carried out in July 2007. An independent health economic model was developed based on a review of existing cost-effectiveness models and clinical advice.The model draws together a broad spectrum of evidence relating to the costs and consequences associated with influenza and its prevention. Where direct evidence concerning the effectiveness of prophylaxis within specific model subgroups was lacking, the model uses estimates from mixed subgroups or extrapolates from other mutually exclusive subgroups. Twenty-six published references relating to 22 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were included in the clinical effectiveness review, along with one unpublished report. Eight, six and nine RCTs were included for amantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir respectively. The study quality was variable and gaps in the evidence base limited the assessment of the clinical effectiveness of the interventions. For seasonal prophylaxis, there was limited evidence for the efficacy of amantadine in preventing symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed influenza (SLCI) in healthy adults [relative risk (RR) 0.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.08-2.03]. Oseltamivir was effective in preventing SLCI, particularly when used in at-risk elderly subjects (RR 0.08, 95% CI 0.01-0.63). The preventative efficacy of zanamivir was most notable in at-risk adults and adolescents (RR 0.17, 95% CI 0.07-0.44), and healthy and at-risk elderly subjects (RR 0.20, 95% CI 0.02-1.72). For post-exposure prophylaxis, data on the use of amantadine were again limited: in adolescents an RR of 0.10 (95% CI 0.03-0.34) was reported for the prevention of SLCI. Oseltamivir was effective in households of mixed composition (RR 0.19, 95% CI 0.08-0.45). The efficacy of zanamivir in post-exposure prophylaxis within households was also reported (RR 0.21, 95% CI 0.13-0.33). Interventions appeared to be well tolerated. Limited evidence was available for the effectiveness of the interventions in preventing complications and hospitalisation and in minimising length of illness and time to return to normal activities. No clinical effectiveness data were identified for health-related quality of life or mortality outcomes. With the exception of at-risk children, the incremental cost-utility of seasonal influenza prophylaxis is expected to be in the range 38,000-428,000 pounds per QALY gained (depending on subgroup). The cost-effectiveness ratios for oseltamivir and zanamivir as post-exposure prophylaxis are expected to be below 30,000 pounds per QALY gained in healthy children, at-risk children, healthy elderly and at-risk elderly individuals. Despite favourable clinical efficacy estimates, the incorporation of recent evidence of viral resistance to amantadine led to it being dominated in every economic comparison. All three interventions showed some efficacy for seasonal and post-exposure prophylaxis. However, weaknesses and gaps in the clinical evidence base are directly relevant to the interpretation of the health economic model and rendered the use of advanced statistical analyses inappropriate. These data limitations should be borne in mind in interpreting the findings of the review.
 
The principal diagnosis/indication for this assessment is chronic diarrhoea due to bile acid malabsorption (BAM). Diarrhoea can be defined as the abnormal passage of loose or liquid stools more than three times daily and/or a daily stool weight > 200 g per day and is considered to be chronic if it persists for more than 4 weeks. The cause of chronic diarrhoea in adults is often difficult to ascertain and patients may undergo several investigations without a definitive cause being identified. BAM is one of several causes of chronic diarrhoea and results from failure to absorb bile acids (which are required for the absorption of dietary fats and sterols in the intestine) in the distal ileum. For people with chronic diarrhoea with unknown cause and in people with Crohn's disease and chronic diarrhoea with unknown cause (i.e. before resection): (1) What are the effects of selenium-75-homocholic acid taurine (SeHCAT) compared with no SeHCAT in terms of chronic diarrhoea, other health outcomes and costs? (2) What are the effects of bile acid sequestrants (BASs) compared with no BASs in people with a positive or negative SeHCAT test? (3) Does a positive or negative SeHCAT test predict improvement in terms of chronic diarrhoea, other health outcomes and costs? A systematic review was conducted to summarise the evidence on the clinical effectiveness of SeHCAT for the assessment of BAM and the measurement of bile acid pool loss. Search strategies were based on target condition and intervention, as recommended in the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) guidance for undertaking reviews in health care and the Cochrane Handbook for Diagnostic Test Accuracy Reviews. The following databases were searched up to April 2012: MEDLINE; MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations; EMBASE; the Cochrane Databases; Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects; Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Database; and Science Citation Index. Research registers and conference proceedings were also searched. Systematic review methods followed the principles outlined in the CRD guidance for undertaking reviews in health care and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Diagnostic Assessment Programme interim methods statement. In the health economic analysis, the cost-effectiveness of SeHCAT for the assessment of BAM, in patients with chronic diarrhoea, was estimated in two different populations. The first is the population of patients with chronic diarrhoea with unknown cause and symptoms suggestive of diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) and the second population concerns patients with Crohn's disease without ileal resection with chronic diarrhoea. For each population, three models were combined: (1) a short-term decision tree that models the diagnostic pathway and initial response to treatment (first 6 months); (2) a long-term Markov model that estimates the lifetime costs and effects for patients initially receiving BAS; and (3) a long-term Markov model that estimates the lifetime costs and effects for patients initially receiving regular treatment (IBS-D treatment in the first population and Crohn's treatment in the second population). Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were estimated as additional cost per additional responder in the short term (first 6 months) and per additional quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) in the long term (lifetime). We found three studies assessing the relationship between the SeHCAT test and response to treatment with cholestyramine. However, the studies had small numbers of patients with unknown cause chronic diarrhoea, and they used different cut-offs to define BAM. For the short term (first 6 months), when trial of treatment is not considered as a comparator, the optimal choice depends on the willingness to pay for an additional responder. For lower values (between £1500 and £4600) the choice will be no SeHCAT in all scenarios; for higher values either SeHCAT 10% or SeHCAT 15% becomes cost-effective. For the lifetime perspective, the various scenarios showed widely differing results: in the threshold range of £20,000-30,000 per QALY gained we found as optimal choice either no SeHCAT, SeHCAT 5% (only IBS-D) or SeHCAT 15%. When trial of treatment is considered a comparator, the analysis showed that for the short term, trial of treatment is the optimal choice across a range of scenarios. For the lifetime perspective with trial of treatment, again the various scenarios show widely differing results. Depending on the scenario, in the threshold range of £20,000-30,000 per QALY gained, we found as optimal choice either trial of treatment, no SeHCAT or SeHCAT 15%. In conclusion, the various analyses show that for both populations considerable decision uncertainty exists and that no firm conclusions can be formulated about which strategy is optimal. Standardisation of the definition of a positive SeHCAT test should be the first step in assessing the usefulness of this test. As there is no reference standard for the diagnosis of BAM and SeHCAT testing provides a continuous measure of metabolic function, diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) studies are not the most appropriate study design. However, in studies where all patients are tested with SeHCAT and all patients are treated with BASs, response to treatment can provide a surrogate reference standard; further DTA studies of this type may provide information on the ability of SeHCAT to predict response to BASs. A potentially more informative option would be multivariate regression modelling of treatment response (dependent variable), with SeHCAT result and other candidate clinical predictors as covariates. Such a study design could also inform the definition of a positive SeHCAT result. The study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42012001911. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
Occlusive vascular events such as myocardial infarction (MI), ischaemic stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIA) are the result of a reduction in blood flow associated with an artery becoming narrow or blocked through atherosclerosis and atherothrombosis. Peripheral arterial disease is the result of narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the muscles and other tissues, usually in the lower extremities. The primary objective in the treatment of all patients with a history of occlusive vascular events and peripheral arterial disease is to prevent the occurrence of new occlusive vascular events. To assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of clopidogrel and modified-release dipyridamole (MRD) alone or with aspirin (ASA) compared with ASA (and each other where appropriate) in the prevention of occlusive vascular events in patients with a history of MI, ischaemic stroke/TIA or established peripheral arterial disease. To consider the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of clopidogrel in patients with multivascular disease. This review is an update of the evidence base for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance Technology Appraisal No. 90 (TA90) entitled Clopidogrel and modified-release dipyridamole for the prevention of occlusive vascular events (2005). Four electronic databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE, Web of Science and The Cochrane Library) were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and economic evaluations. Submissions to NICE by the manufacturers of the interventions were also considered. A systematic review of clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness was conducted. To manage heterogeneity between trials, indirect analysis (using a mixed-treatment methodology) was performed on selected clinical outcomes. A new economic model was developed to assess incremental costs per life-year gained [quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs)]. For evidence of clinical effectiveness, four RCTs were identified: CAPRIE (Clopidogrel versus Aspirin in Patients at Risk of Ischaemic Events), ESPRIT (European/Australasian Stroke Prevention in Reversible Ischaemia Trial), PRoFESS (Prevention Regimen For Effectively avoiding Second Strokes) and ESPS-2 (Second European Stroke Prevention Study). In CAPRIE (patients with MI, ischaemic stroke or peripheral arterial disease), statistically significant outcomes in favour of clopidogrel were noted for the primary outcome (first occurrence of ischaemic stroke, MI or vascular death) compared with ASA [relative risk reduction 8.7%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.3% to 16.5%; p = 0.043]. In ESPRIT (patients with ischaemic stroke/TIA) for the primary outcome (first occurrence of death from all vascular causes, non-fatal stroke, non-fatal MI or major bleeding complication), the risk of event occurrence was statistically significantly lower in the MRD + ASA arm than in the ASA arm [hazard ratio (HR) 0.80; 95% CI 0.66 to 0.98], with no statistically significant difference in bleeding events between the two arms. In PRoFESS (patients with ischaemic stroke) the rate of recurrent stroke of any type (primary outcome) was similar in the MRD + ASA and clopidogrel groups, and the null hypothesis (that MRD + ASA was inferior to clopidogrel) could not be rejected. In ESPS-2 (patients with ischaemic stroke/TIA), on the primary outcome of stroke, statistically significant differences in favour of MRD + ASA were observed compared with ASA and MRD alone (relative risk 0.76; 95% CI 0.63 to 0.93). The outcomes addressed in the mixed-treatment comparisons (limited by the available data) for the ischaemic stroke/TIA population confirmed the results of the direct comparisons. The 11 economic evaluations included in the review of cost-effectiveness indicated that for patients with previous peripheral arterial disease, ischaemic stroke or MI, clopidogrel is cost-effective compared with ASA, and for patients with previous ischaemic stroke/TIA, treatment with MRD + ASA is cost-effective compared with any other treatment in patients in the secondary prevention of occlusive vascular events. The relevance of the review was limited as the economic evaluations were not based on the most current clinical data. Cost-effectiveness results generated from the Assessment Group's de novo economic model suggested that the most cost-effective approach for patients with ischaemic stroke/TIA is clopidogrel followed by MRD + ASA then ASA. For patients with MI, the most cost-effective approach is ASA followed by clopidogrel. For patients with established peripheral arterial disease, the most cost-effective approach is clopidogrel followed by ASA. For patients with multivascular disease, clopidogrel followed by ASA is the most cost-effective approach. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were also calculated for patients who are intolerant to ASA. Assuming that the branded price for clopidogrel is used and TA90 guidance is not applied, all of the ICERs range between £2189 and £13,558 per QALY gained. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses were fully consistent with these findings. The evidence suggests that the most cost-effective treatment for patients with ischaemic stroke/TIA is clopidogrel followed by MRD + ASA followed by ASA; for patients with MI, ASA followed by clopidogrel; and for patients with established peripheral arterial disease or multivascular disease, clopidogrel followed by ASA. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition that typically causes a symmetrical chronic arthritis. Timely use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) is an essential aspect of disease management, but many patients may not respond even when conventional agents are used optimally. To assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of adalimumab (ADA), etanercept (ETN), infliximab (IFX), rituximab (RTX) and abatacept (ABT) when used in patients with RA who have tried conventional agents and have failed to improve after trying a first tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor. A systematic review of primary studies was undertaken. Databases searched included the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (Ovid) and EMBASE up to July 2009. Two reviewers assessed titles and abstracts of studies identified by the search strategy, obtained the full text of relevant papers and screened them against inclusion criteria. STUDY APPRAISAL: Data from included studies were extracted by one reviewer and checked by a second. The quality of included studies was assessed independently by two reviewers, with any disagreements resolved by discussion and consultation with a third reviewer if necessary. Thirty-five studies were included in the systematic review: five randomised controlled trials (RCTs), one comparative study, one controlled study and 28 uncontrolled studies. One RCT (REFLEX) demonstrated the effectiveness of RTX. At 6 months significantly more patients treated with RTX achieved American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20 [relative risk (RR) = 2.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.08 to 3.91] and ACR70 (RR = 12.14, 95% CI 2.96 to 49.86) compared with those treated with the placebo. Differences between groups in favour of RTX were observed at 6 months for mean change from baseline in Disease Activity Score 28 (DAS28) (mean difference -1.50, 95% CI -1.74 to -1.26) and mean change from baseline in Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) score (mean difference -0.30, 95% CI -0.40 to -0.20). One RCT (ATTAIN) demonstrated the effectiveness of ABT. At 6 months significantly more patients treated with ABT achieved ACR20 (RR = 2.56, 95% CI 1.77 to 3.69) and ACR70 (RR = 6.70, 95% CI 1.62 to 27.80) compared with those treated with placebo. Significant differences between groups in favour of ABT were observed at 6 months for mean change from baseline in DAS28 score (mean difference -1.27, 95% CI -1.62 to -0.93) and mean change from baseline in HAQ score (mean difference -0.34). Twenty-eight uncontrolled studies observed improvement of effectiveness compared with before switching, in patients who switched to ADA, ETN or IFX after discontinued previous TNF inhibitor(s). Four studies were included in the systematic review of cost-effectiveness. Independent economic evaluation undertaken by the assessment group showed that compared with DMARDs, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were £34,300 [per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY)] for ADA, £38,800 for ETN, £36,200 for IFX, £21,200 for RTX and £38,600 for ABT. RTX dominates the TNF inhibitors and the ICER for ABT compared with RTX is over £100,000 (per QALY). Paucity of evidence from RCTs for assessing the clinical effectiveness of TNF inhibitors and an absence of head-to-head trials comparing the five technologies. Evidence from RCTs suggests that RTX and ABT are more effective than supportive care. Data from observational studies suggest that the use of an alternative TNF inhibitor in patients who exhibit an inadequate response to a first TNF inhibitor may offer some benefit, but there remain uncertainties with regard to the magnitude of treatment effects and their cost-effectiveness. Future research should include head-to-head trials comparing the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the technologies against each other and emerging biologics. This study was funded by the Health Technology Assessment programme of the National Institute for Health Research.
 
To review for acute abdominal pain (AAP), the diagnostic accuracies of combining decision tools (DTs) and doctors aided by DTs compared with those of unaided doctors. Also to evaluate the impact of providing doctors with an AAP DT on patient outcomes, clinical decisions and actions, what factors are likely to determine the usage rates and usability of a DT and the associated costs and likely cost-effectiveness of these DTs in routine use in the UK. Electronic databases were searched up to 1 July 2003. Data from each eligible study were extracted. Potential sources of heterogeneity were extracted for both questions. For the accuracy review, meta-analysis was conducted. Among studies comparing diagnostic accuracies of DTs with unaided doctors, error rate ratios provided estimates of the differences between the false-negative and false-positive rates of the DT and unaided doctors' performance. Pooled error rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for false-negative rates and false-positive rates were computed. Metaregression was used to explore heterogeneity. Thirty-two studies from 27 articles, all based in secondary care, were eligible for the review of DT accuracies, while two were eligible for the review of the accuracy of hospital doctors aided by DTs. Sensitivities and specificities for DTs ranged from 53 to 99% and from 30 to 99%, respectively. Those for unaided doctors ranged from 64 to 93% and from 39 to 91%, respectively. Thirteen studies reported false-positive and false-negative rates for both DTs and unaided doctors, enabling a direct comparison of their performance. In random effects meta-analyses, DTs had significantly lower false-positive rates (error rate ratio 0.62, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.83) than unaided doctors. DTs may have higher false-negative rates than unaided doctors (error rate ratio 1.34, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.93). Significant heterogeneity was present. Two studies compared the diagnostic accuracies of doctors aided by DTs to unaided doctors. In a multiarm cluster randomised controlled trial (n = 5193), the diagnostic accuracy of doctors not given access to DTs was not significantly worse (sensitivity 28.4% and specificity 96.0%) than that of three groups of aided doctors (sensitivities of 42.4-47.9%, and specificities of 95.5-96.5%, respectively). In an uncontrolled before-and-after study (n = 1484), the sensitivities and specificities of aided and unaided doctors were 95.5% and 91.5% (p = 0.24) and 78.1% and 86.4% (p < 0.001), respectively. The metaregression of DTs showed that prospective test-set validation at the site of the tool's development was associated with considerably higher diagnostic accuracy than prospective test-set validation at an independent centre [relative diagnostic odds ratio (RDOR) 8.2; 95% CI 3.1 to 14.7]. It also showed that the earlier in the year the study was performed the higher the performance (RDOR 0.88, 0.83 to 0.92), that when developers evaluated their own DT there was better performance than when independent evaluators carried out the study (RDOR = 3.0, 1.3 to 6.8), and that there was no evidence of association between other quality indicators and DT accuracy. The one eligible study of the impact study review, a four-arm cluster randomised trial (n = 5193), showed that hospital admission rates of patients by doctors not allocated to a DT (42.8%) were significantly higher than those by doctors allocated to three combinations of decision support (34.2-38.5%) (p < 0.001). There was no evidence of a difference between perforation rates (p = 0.19) and negative laparotomy rates in the four trial arms (p = 0.46). Usage rates of DTs by doctors in accident and emergency departments ranged from 10 to 77% in the six studies that reported them. Possible determinants of usability include the reasoning method used, the number of items used and the output format. A deterministic cost-effectiveness comparison demonstrated that a paper checklist is likely to be 100-900 times more cost-effective than a computer-based DT, under stated assumptions. With their significantly greater specificity and lower false-positive rates than doctors, DTs are potentially useful in confirming a diagnosis of acute appendicitis, but not in ruling it out. The clinical use of well-designed, condition-specific paper or computer-based structured checklists is promising as a way to improve impact on patient outcomes, subject to further research.
 
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair aims to prevent premature death from AAA rupture. Elective repair is currently recommended when AAA diameter reaches 5.5 cm (men) and 5.0 cm (women). Applying population-based indications may not be appropriate for individual patient decisions, as the optimal indication is likely to differ between patients based on age and comorbidities. To develop an Aneurysm Repair Decision Aid (ARDA) to indicate when elective AAA repair optimises survival for individual patients and to assess the cost-effectiveness and associated uncertainty of elective repair at the aneurysm diameter recommended by the ARDA compared with current practice. The UK Vascular Governance North West and National Vascular Database provided individual patient data to develop predictive models for perioperative mortality and survival. Data from published literature were used to model AAA growth and risk of rupture. The cost-effectiveness analysis used data from published literature and from local and national databases. A combination of systematic review methods and clinical registries were used to provide data to populate models and inform the structure of the ARDA. Discrete event simulation (DES) was used to model the patient journey from diagnosis to death and synthesised data were used to estimate patient outcomes and costs for elective repair at alternative aneurysm diameters. Eight patient clinical scenarios (vignettes) were used as exemplars. The DES structure was validated by clinical and statistical experts. The economic evaluation estimated costs, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) from the NHS, social care provider and patient perspective over a lifetime horizon. Cost-effectiveness acceptability analyses and probabilistic sensitivity analyses explored uncertainty in the data and the value for money of ARDA-based decisions. The ARDA outcome measures include perioperative mortality risk, annual risk of rupture, 1-, 5- and 10-year survival, postoperative long-term survival, median life expectancy and predicted time to current threshold for aneurysm repair. The primary economic measure was the ICER using the QALY as the measure of health benefit. The analysis demonstrated it is feasible to build and run a complex clinical decision aid using DES. The model results support current guidelines for most vignettes but suggest that earlier repair may be effective in younger, fitter patients and ongoing surveillance may be effective in elderly patients with comorbidities. The model adds information to support decisions for patients with aneurysms outside current indications. The economic evaluation suggests that using the ARDA compared with current guidelines could be cost-effective but there is a high level of uncertainty. Lack of high-quality long-term data to populate all sections of the model meant that there is high uncertainty about the long-term clinical and economic consequences of repair. Modelling assumptions were necessary and the developed survival models require external validation. The ARDA provides detailed information on the potential consequences of AAA repair or a decision not to repair that may be helpful to vascular surgeons and their patients in reaching informed decisions. Further research is required to reduce uncertainty about key data, including reintervention following AAA repair, and assess the acceptability and feasibility of the ARDA for use in routine clinical practice. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
To test the null hypothesis of no significant difference between laparoscopic hysterectomy (LH), abdominal hysterectomy (AH) and vaginal hysterectomy (VH) with regard to each of the outcome measures of the trial, and also to assess the cost-effectiveness of the alternatives. Patients were allocated to either the vaginal or abdominal trial by the individual surgeon according to their usual clinical practice. After allocation patients were then randomised to receive either LH or the default procedure in an unbalanced 2:1 manner. Forty-three surgeons from 28 centres throughout the UK and two centres in South Africa took part in the study. Patients with gynaecological symptoms that, in the opinion of the gynaecologist and the patient, justified hysterectomy. Of 1380 patients recruited to the study, 876 were included in the AH trial and 504 in the VH trial. In the AH trial, 584 patients had a laparoscopic type of hysterectomy (designated ALH) and 292 had a standard AH. In the VH trial 336 had a VLH and 168 had a standard VH. A cost--utility analysis was undertaken based on a 1-year time horizon. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were estimated using the EQ-5D. Compared with AH, LH was associated with a higher rate of major complications, less postoperative pain and shorter hospital stay, but took longer to perform. Securing the ovarian pedicles with laparoscopic sutures was used in only 7% of cases but was associated with 25% of the complications. At the 6 weeks postoperative point, ALH was associated with a significantly better physical component of the SF-12 (QoL questionnaire), better body image scale scores and a significantly increased frequency of sexual intercourse than AH. These differences were not observed at either 4 or 12 months after surgery. There were no significant differences in any measured outcome between LH and VH except that VLH took longer to perform and was associated with a higher rate of detecting unexpected pathology. Compared with VH, VLH had a higher mean cost per patient of GBP401 and higher mean QALYs of 0.0015, resulting in an incremental cost per QALY gained of GBP267,333. The probability that VLH is cost-effective was less than 50% for a large range of willingness to pay values for an additional QALY. Compared with AH, ALH had a higher mean cost per patient of GBP186 and higher mean QALYs of 0.007, resulting in an incremental cost per QALY gained of GBP26,571. ALH is associated with a significantly higher risk of major complications and takes longer to perform than AH. ALH is, however, associated with less pain, quicker recovery and better short-term QoL after surgery than AH. The cost-effectiveness of ALH is finely balanced and is also influenced by the choice of reusable versus disposable equipment. Individual surgeons must decide between patient-orientated benefits and the risk of severe complications. VLH was not cost-effective relative to VH. Recommendations for future research include the application and relevance of QoL measures following hysterectomy, and long-term follow-up; patient preferences; reducing complication rates; improving gynaecological surgical training; surgeon effect in surgery trials; care pathways for hysterectomy; additional pathology identification in LH and meta-analysis/further trial of VH versus LH.
 
To determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) of infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) in patients at varying levels of risk. The following bibliographic databases were searched (2005-February 2007): BIOSIS Previews, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, ISI Proceedings, MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Science Citation Index and Zetoc Conferences. A systematic review of the clinical effectiveness of EVAR was performed using standard methods. Meta-analysis was employed to estimate a summary measure of treatment effect on relevant outcomes based on intention to treat analyses. A second systematic review was undertaken to identify existing cost-effectiveness analyses of EVAR compared with open surgery and non-surgical interventions. Two new decision models were developed to inform the review. Six RCTs were included in the clinical effectiveness review. Thirty-four studies evaluated the role of patients' baseline characteristics in predicting risks of particular outcomes after EVAR. The majority were based on data relating to devices in current use from the EUROSTAR registry. Compared with open repair EVAR reduces operative mortality (odds ratio 0.35, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.63) and medium-term aneurysm-related mortality (hazard ratio 0.49, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.83) but offers no significant difference in all-cause mortality. EVAR is associated with increased rates of complications and reinterventions, which are not offset by any increase in health-related quality of life. EVAR trial 2 comparing EVAR with non-surgical management in patients unfit for open repair found no differences in mortality between groups; however, substantial numbers of patients randomised to non-surgical management crossed over to receive surgical repair of their aneurysm. The cost-effectiveness systematic review identified six published decision models. Both models considered relevant for the decision in the UK concluded that EVAR was not cost-effective on average compared with open repair at a threshold of 20,000 pounds per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Another model concluded that EVAR would be on average more cost-effective than no surgical intervention in unfit patients at this threshold. The Medtronic model concluded that EVAR was more cost-effective than open repair for fit patients at this threshold. The York economic evaluations found that EVAR is not cost-effective compared with open repair on average at a threshold of 30,000 pounds per QALY, with the results very sensitive to model assumptions and the baseline risk of operative mortality. Exploratory analysis to evaluate management options in patients unsuitable for open surgery suggested that the cost-effectiveness of EVAR may be sensitive to aneurysm size and patient's age at operation. Indicative modelling suggests that EVAR may be cost-effective for small aneurysms in some patient groups. Ongoing RCTs will provide further evidence relating to these patients. Open repair is more likely to be cost-effective than EVAR on average in patients considered fit for open surgery. EVAR is likely to be more cost-effective than open repair for a subgroup of patients at higher risk of operative mortality. These results are based on extrapolation of mid-term results of clinical trials. Evidence does not currently support EVAR for the treatment of ruptured aneurysms. Further follow-up of the existing UK trials should be undertaken and the relative costs of procedures and devices should be investigated further.
 
Small abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs; 3.0-5.4 cm in diameter) are usually asymptomatic and managed by regular ultrasound surveillance until they grow to a diameter threshold (commonly 5.5 cm) at which surgical intervention is considered. The choice of appropriate surveillance intervals is governed by the growth and rupture rates of small AAAs, as well as their relative cost-effectiveness. The aim of this series of studies was to inform the evidence base for small AAA surveillance strategies. This was achieved by literature review, collation and analysis of individual patient data, a focus group and health economic modelling. We undertook systematic literature reviews of growth rates and rupture rates of small AAAs. The databases MEDLINE, EMBASE on OvidSP, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials 2009 Issue 4, ClinicalTrials.gov, and controlled-trials.com were searched from inception up until the end of 2009. We also obtained individual data on 15,475 patients from 18 surveillance studies. Systematic reviews of publications identified 15 studies providing small AAA growth rates, and 14 studies with small AAA rupture rates, up to December 2009 (later updated to September 2012). We developed statistical methods to analyse individual surveillance data, including the effects of patient characteristics, to inform the choice of surveillance intervals and provide inputs for health economic modelling. We updated an existing health economic model of AAA screening to address the cost-effectiveness of different surveillance intervals. In the literature reviews, the mean growth rate was 2.3 mm/year and the reported rupture rates varied between 0 and 1.6 ruptures per 100 person-years. Growth rates increased markedly with aneurysm diameter, but insufficient detail was available to guide surveillance intervals. Based on individual surveillance data, for each 0.5-cm increase in AAA diameter, growth rates increased by about 0.5 mm/year and rupture rates doubled. To control the risk of exceeding 5.5 cm to below 10% in men, on average a 7-year surveillance interval is sufficient for a 3.0-cm aneurysm, whereas an 8-month interval is necessary for a 5.0-cm aneurysm. To control the risk of rupture to below 1%, the corresponding estimated surveillance intervals are 9 years and 17 months. Average growth rates were higher in smokers (by 0.35 mm/year) and lower in patients with diabetes (by 0.51 mm/year). Rupture rates were almost fourfold higher in women than men, doubled in current smokers and increased with higher blood pressure. Increasing the surveillance interval from 1 to 2 years for the smallest aneurysms (3.0-4.4 cm) decreased costs and led to a positive net benefit. For the larger aneurysms (4.5-5.4 cm), increasing surveillance intervals from 3 to 6 months led to equivalent cost-effectiveness. There were no clear reasons why the growth rates varied substantially between studies. Uniform diagnostic criteria for rupture were not available. The long-term cost-effectiveness results may be susceptible to the modelling assumptions made. Surveillance intervals of several years are clinically acceptable for men with AAAs in the range 3.0-4.0 cm. Intervals of around 1 year are suitable for 4.0-4.9-cm AAAs, whereas intervals of 6 months would be acceptable for 5.0-5.4-cm AAAs. These intervals are longer than those currently employed in the UK AAA screening programmes. Lengthening surveillance intervals for the smallest aneurysms was also shown to be cost-effective. Future work should focus on optimising surveillance intervals for women, studying whether or not the threshold for surgery should depend on patient characteristics, evaluating the usefulness of surveillance for those with aortic diameters of 2.5-2.9 cm, and developing interventions that may reduce the growth or rupture rates of small AAAs. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
Foam sclerotherapy (foam) and endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) have emerged as alternative treatments to surgery for patients with varicose veins, but uncertainty exists regarding their effectiveness in the medium to longer term. To assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of foam, EVLA and surgery for the treatment of varicose veins. A parallel-group randomised controlled trial (RCT) without blinding, and economic modelling evaluation. Eleven UK specialist vascular centres. Seven hundred and ninety-eight patients with primary varicose veins (foam, n = 292; surgery, n = 294; EVLA, n = 212). Patients were randomised between all three treatment options (eight centres) or between foam and surgery (three centres). Disease-specific [Aberdeen Varicose Vein Questionnaire (AVVQ)] and generic [European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D), Short Form questionnaire-36 items (SF-36) physical and mental component scores] quality of life (QoL) at 6 months. Cost-effectiveness as cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained. Quality of life at 6 weeks; residual varicose veins; Venous Clinical Severity Score (VCSS); complication rates; return to normal activity; truncal vein ablation rates; and costs. The results appear generalisable in that participants' baseline characteristics (apart from a lower-than-expected proportion of females) and post-treatment improvement in outcomes were comparable with those in other RCTs. The health gain achieved in the AVVQ with foam was significantly lower than with surgery at 6 months [effect size -1.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) -2.97 to -0.50; p = 0.006], but was similar to that achieved with EVLA. The health gain in SF-36 mental component score for foam was worse than that for EVLA (effect size 1.54, 95% CI 0.01 to 3.06; p = 0.048) but similar to that for surgery. There were no differences in EQ-5D or SF-36 component scores in the surgery versus foam or surgery versus EVLA comparisons at 6 months. The trial-based cost-effectiveness analysis showed that, at 6 months, foam had the highest probability of being considered cost-effective at a ceiling willingness-to-pay ratio of £20,000 per QALY. EVLA was found to cost £26,107 per QALY gained versus foam, and was less costly and generated slightly more QALYs than surgery. Markov modelling using trial costs and the limited recurrence data available suggested that, at 5 years, EVLA had the highest probability (≈ 79%) of being cost-effective at conventional thresholds, followed by foam (≈ 17%) and surgery (≈ 5%). With regard to secondary outcomes, health gains at 6 weeks (p < 0.005) were greater for EVLA than for foam (EQ-5D, p = 0.004). There were fewer procedural complications in the EVLA group (1%) than after foam (7%) and surgery (8%) (p < 0.001). Participants returned to a wide range of behaviours more quickly following foam or EVLA than following surgery (p < 0.05). There were no differences in VCSS between the three treatments. Truncal ablation rates were higher for surgery (p < 0.001) and EVLA (p < 0.001) than for foam, and were similar for surgery and EVLA. Considerations of both the 6-month clinical outcomes and the estimated 5-year cost-effectiveness suggest that EVLA should be considered as the treatment of choice for suitable patients. Five-year trial results are currently being evaluated to compare the cost-effectiveness of foam, surgery and EVLA, and to determine the recurrence rates following each treatment. This trial has highlighted the need for long-term outcome data from RCTs on QoL, recurrence rates and costs for foam sclerotherapy and other endovenous techniques compared against each other and against surgery. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN51995477. This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 19, No. 27. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.
 
To determine the safety, clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of radio frequency catheter ablation (RCFA) for the curative treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) and typical atrial flutter. For the systematic reviews of clinical studies 25 bibliographic databases and internet sources were searched in July 2006, with subsequent update searches for controlled trials conducted in April 2007. For the review of cost-effectiveness a broad range of studies was considered, including economic evaluations conducted alongside trials, modelling studies and analyses of administrative databases. Systematic reviews of clinical studies and economic evaluations of catheter ablation for AF and typical atrial flutter were conducted. The quality of the included studies was assessed using standard methods. A decision model was developed to evaluate a strategy of RFCA compared with long-term antiarrhythmic drug (AAD) treatment alone in adults with paroxysmal AF. This was used to estimate the cost-effectiveness of RFCA in terms of cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) under a range of assumptions. Decision uncertainty associated with this analysis was presented and used to inform future research priorities using the value of information analysis. A total of 4858 studies were retrieved for the review of clinical effectiveness. Of these, eight controlled studies and 53 case series of AF were included. Two controlled studies and 23 case series of typical atrial flutter were included. For atrial fibrillation, freedom from arrhythmia at 12 months in case series ranged from 28% to 85.3% with a weighted mean of 76%. Three RCTs suggested that RFCA is more effective than long-term AAD therapy in patients with drug-refractory paroxysmal AF. Single RCTs also suggested superiority of RFCA over electrical cardioversion followed by long-term AAD therapy and of RFCA plus AAD therapy over AAD maintenance therapy alone in drug-refractory patients. The available RCTs provided insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of RFCA beyond 12 months or in patients with persistent or permanent AF. Adverse events and complications were generally rare. Mortality rates were low in both RCTs and case series. Cardiac tamponade and pulmonary vein stenosis were the most frequently recorded complications. For atrial flutter, freedom from arrhythmia at 12 months in case series ranged from 85% to 92% with a weighted mean of 88%. Neither of the atrial flutter RCTs reported freedom from arrhythmia at 12 months. One RCT found a statistically significant benefit favouring ablation over AADs in terms of freedom from arrhythmia at a mean follow-up of 22 months. A second RCT reported a more modest effect favouring ablation in terms of freedom from atrial flutter at follow-up in older patients (mean age 78 years) after their first episode of flutter. In the atrial flutter case series, mortality was rare and the most frequent complications were atrioventricular block and haematomas. Complications in the RCTs were similar, except for those events likely to have been caused by AAD therapy (e.g. thyroid dysfunction). The review of cost-effectiveness evidence found one relevant study, which from a UK NHS perspective had a number of important limitations. The base-case analysis in the decision model demonstrated that if the quality of life benefits of RFCA are maintained over the remaining lifetime of the patient then the cost-effectiveness of RFCA appears clear. These findings were robust over a wide range of alternative assumptions, being between 7763 and 7910 pounds per additional QALY with very little uncertainty. If the quality of life benefits of RFCA are assumed to be maintained for no more than 5 years, cost-effectiveness of RFCA is dependent on a number of factors. Estimates of cost-effectiveness that explored the influence of these factors ranged from 23,000 to 38,000 pounds per QALY. RFCA is a relatively safe and efficacious procedure for the therapeutic treatment of AF and typical atrial flutter. There is some randomised evidence to suggest that RFCA is superior to AADs in patients with drug-refractory paroxysmal AF in terms of freedom from arrhythmia at 12 months. RFCA appears to be cost-effective if the observed quality of life benefits are assumed to continue over a patient's lifetime. However, there remain uncertainties around longer-term effects of the intervention and the extent to which published effectiveness findings can be generalised to 'typical' UK practice. All catheter ablation procedures for the treatment of AF or atrial flutter undertaken in the UK should be recorded prospectively and centrally and measures to increase compliance in recording RFCA procedures may be needed. This would be of particular value in establishing the long-term benefits of RFCA and the true incidence and impact of any complications. Collection of appropriate quality of life data within any such registry would also be of value to future clinical and cost-effectiveness research in this area. Any planned multicentre RCTs comparing RFCA against best medical therapy for the treatment of AF and/or atrial flutter should be conducted among 'non-pioneering' centres using the techniques and equipment typically employed in UK practice and should measure relevant outcomes.
 
Objective: The aim of this project was to determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of hysterectomy, first- and second-generation endometrial ablation (EA), and Mirena® (Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Pittsburgh, PA, USA) for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding. Design: Individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis of existing randomised controlled trials to determine the short- to medium-term effects of hysterectomy, EA and Mirena. A population-based retrospective cohort study based on record linkage to investigate the long-term effects of ablative techniques and hysterectomy in terms of failure rates and complications. Cost-effectiveness analysis of hysterectomy versus first- and second-generation ablative techniques and Mirena. Setting: Data from women treated for heavy menstrual bleeding were obtained from national and international trials. Scottish national data were obtained from the Scottish Information Services Division. Participants: Women who were undergoing treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding were included. Interventions: Hysterectomy, first- and second-generation EA, and Mirena. Main outcome measures: Satisfaction, recurrence of symptoms, further surgery and costs. Results: Data from randomised trials indicated that at 12 months more women were dissatisfied with first-generation EA than hysterectomy [odds ratio (OR): 2.46, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.54 to 3.93; p = 0.0002), but hospital stay [WMD (weighted mean difference) 3.0 days, 95% CI 2.9 to 3.1 days; p < 0.00001] and time to resumption of normal activities (WMD 5.2 days, 95% CI 4.7 to 5.7 days; p < 0.00001) were longer for hysterectomy. Unsatisfactory outcomes associated with first- and second-generation techniques were comparable [12.2% (123/1006) vs 10.6% (110/1034); OR 1.20, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.62; p = 0.2). Rates of dissatisfaction with Mirena and second-generation EA were similar [18.1% (17/94) vs 22.5% (23/102); OR 0.76, 95% CI 0.38 to 1.53; p = 0.4]. Indirect estimates suggested that hysterectomy was also preferable to second-generation EA (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.27 to 4.24; p = 0.006) in terms of patient dissatisfaction. The evidence to suggest that hysterectomy is preferable to Mirena was weaker (OR 2.22, 95% CI 0.94 to 5.29; p = 0.07). In women treated by EA or hysterectomy and followed up for a median [interquartile range (IQR)] duration of 6.2 (2.7-10.8) and 11.6 (7.9-14.8) years, respectively, 962/11,299 (8.5%) women originally treated by EA underwent further gynaecological surgery. While the risk of adnexal surgery was similar in both groups [adjusted hazards ratio 0.80 (95% CI 0.56 to 1.15)], women who had undergone ablation were less likely to need pelvic floor repair [adjusted hazards ratio 0.62 (95% CI 0.50 to 0.77)] and tension-free vaginal tape surgery for stress urinary incontinence [adjusted hazards ratio 0.55 (95% CI 0.41 to 0.74)]. Abdominal hysterectomy led to a lower chance of pelvic floor repair surgery [hazards ratio 0.54 (95% CI 0.45 to 0.64)] than vaginal hysterectomy. The incidence of endometrial cancer following EA was 0.02%. Hysterectomy was the most cost-effective treatment. It dominated first-generation EA and, although more expensive, produced more quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) than second-generation EA and Mirena. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for hysterectomy compared with Mirena and hysterectomy compared with second-generation ablation were £1440 per additional QALY and £970 per additional QALY, respectively. Conclusions: Despite longer hospital stay and time to resumption of normal activities, more women were satisfied after hysterectomy than after EA. The few data available suggest that Mirena is potentially cheaper and more effective than first-generation ablation techniques, with rates of satisfaction that are similar to second-generation techniques. Owing to a paucity of trials, there is limited evidence to suggest that hysterectomy is preferable to Mirena. The risk of pelvic floor surgery is higher in women treated by hysterectomy than by ablation. Although the most cost-effective strategy, hysterectomy may not be considered an initial option owing to its invasive nature and higher risk of complications. Future research should focus on evaluation of the clinical effectivesness and cost-effectiveness of the best second-generation EA technique under local anaesthetic versus Mirena and types of hysterectomy such as laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy versus conventional hysterectomy and second-generation EA. Funding: The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
To estimate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of microwave endometrial ablation (MEA) and thermal balloon endometrial ablation (TBEA) for heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB), compared with the existing (first-generation) endometrial ablation (EA) techniques of transcervical resection (TCRE) and rollerball (RB) ablation, and hysterectomy. Electronic databases, bibliographies of articles, and also experts in the field and relevant industry bodies were asked to provide information. A detailed search strategy was carried out to identify systematic reviews and controlled trials of MEA and TBEA versus first-generation techniques for EA. In addition to electronic database searching, reference lists were hand-searched and information sought from manufacturers of EA devices and by experts in the field. A deterministic Markov model was developed to assess cost-effectiveness. Data for the model were taken from a range of sources. The systematic review of first-generation EA techniques versus hysterectomy found that EA offered an alternative to hysterectomy for HMB, with fewer complications and a shorter recovery period. Satisfaction and effectiveness were high for both MEA and TBEA. Costs were lower with EA although the difference narrows over time. Second-generation EA techniques are an alternative treatment to first-generation techniques for HMB, and first-generation techniques are known to offer an alternative to hysterectomy. Although no trials of second-generation techniques and hysterectomy have been undertaken, it seems reasonable to assume that second-generation techniques also offer an alternative surgical treatment. Using the model to assess cost-effectiveness, costs were very slightly higher for MEA when compared to TBEA, and differences in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were negligible. For MEA compared with transcervical resection of the endometrium (TCRE) and RB ablation, costs were slightly lower with MEA and MEA accrued very slightly more QALYs. Compared with hysterectomy, MEA costs less and accrues slightly fewer QALYs. For TBEA compared with TCRE and RB ablation, costs were lower with TBEA and TBEA accrued slightly more QALYs. Compared with hysterectomy, TBEA costs moderately less and accrues moderately fewer QALYs. Overall, there were few significant differences between the outcomes of first- and second-generation techniques including bleeding, satisfaction and QoL measures and repeat surgery rates. Second-generation techniques had significantly shorter operating and theatre times and there appear to be fewer serious perioperative adverse effects with second-generation techniques and postoperative effects are similar. Compared with hysterectomy, TCRE and RB are quicker to perform and result in shorter hospitalisation and faster return to work. Hysterectomy results in more adverse effects and is more expensive, although the need for retreatment leads this difference to decrease over time. Satisfaction with hysterectomy is initially higher, but there is no significant difference after 2 years. The economic model suggests that second-generation techniques are more cost-effective than first-generation techniques of EA for HMB. Both TBEA and MEA appear to be less costly than hysterectomy, although the latter results in more QALYs. Further research is suggested to make direct comparisons of the cost-effectiveness of second-generation EA techniques, to carry out longer term follow-up for all methods of EA in RCTs, and to develop more sophisticated modelling studies. Further research is also recommended into HMB to establish health-state utility values, its surgical treatment, convalescence, complications of treatment, symptoms and patient satisfaction.
 
Many deaths from cancer are caused by metastatic burden. Prognosis and survival rates vary, but survival beyond 5 years of patients with untreated metastatic disease in the liver is rare. Treatment for liver metastases has largely been surgical resection, but this is feasible in only approximately 20-30% of people. Non-surgical alternatives to treat some liver metastases can include various forms of ablative therapies and other targeted treatments. To evaluate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the different ablative and minimally invasive therapies for treating liver metastases. Electronic databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE and The Cochrane Library were searched from 1990 to September 2011. Experts were consulted and bibliographies checked. Systematic reviews of the literature were undertaken to appraise the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ablative therapies and minimally invasive therapies used for people with liver metastases. Studies were any prospective study with sample size greater than 100 participants. A probabilistic model was developed for the economic evaluation of the technologies where data permitted. The evidence assessing the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ablative and other minimally invasive therapies was limited. Nine studies of ablative therapies were included in the review; each had methodological shortcomings and few had a comparator group. One randomised controlled trial (RCT) of microwave ablation versus surgical resection was identified and showed no improvement in outcomes compared with resection. In two prospective case series studies that investigated the use of laser ablation, mean survival ranged from 41 to 58 months. One cohort study compared radiofrequency ablation with surgical resection and five case series studies also investigated the use of radiofrequency ablation. Across these studies the median survival ranged from 44 to 52 months. Seven studies of minimally invasive therapies were included in the review. Two RCTs compared chemoembolisation with chemotherapy only. Overall survival was not compared between groups and methodological shortcomings mean that conclusions are difficult to make. Two case series studies of laser ablation following chemoembolisation were also included; however, these provide little evidence of the use of these technologies in combination. Three RCTs of radioembolisation were included. Significant improvements in tumour response and time to disease progression were demonstrated; however, benefits in terms of survival were equivocal. An exploratory survival model was developed using data from the review of clinical effectiveness. The model includes separate analyses of microwave ablation compared with surgery and radiofrequency ablation compared with surgery and one of radioembolisation in conjunction with hepatic artery chemotherapy compared with hepatic artery chemotherapy alone. Microwave ablation was associated with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of £3664 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained, with microwave ablation being associated with reduced cost but also with poorer outcome than surgery. Radiofrequency ablation compared with surgical resection for solitary metastases < 3 cm was associated with an ICER of -£266,767 per QALY gained, indicating that radiofrequency ablation dominates surgical resection. Radiofrequency ablation compared with surgical resection for solitary metastases ≥ 3 cm resulted in poorer outcomes at lower costs and a resultant ICER of £2538 per QALY gained. Radioembolisation plus hepatic artery chemotherapy compared with hepatic artery chemotherapy was associated with an ICER of £37,303 per QALY gained. There is currently limited high-quality research evidence upon which to base any firm decisions regarding ablative therapies for liver metastases. Further trials should compare ablative therapies with surgery, in particular. A RCT would provide the most appropriate design for undertaking any further evaluation and should include a full economic evaluation, but the group to be randomised needs careful selection. Funding for this study was provided by the Health Technology Assessment programme of the National Institute for Health Research.
 
To determine the natural history of abnormalities in liver function tests (LFTs), derive predictive algorithms for liver disease and identify the most cost-effective strategies for further investigation. MEDLINE database from 1966 to September 2006, EMBASE, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library. Population-based retrospective cohort study set in primary care in Tayside, Scotland, between 1989 and 2003. Participants were patients with no obvious signs of liver disease and registered with a general practitioner (GP). The study followed up those with an incident batch of LFTs in primary care to subsequent liver disease or mortality over a maximum of 15 years. The health technologies being assessed were primary care LFTs, viral and autoantibody tests, ultrasound and liver biopsy. Measures used were the epidemiology of liver disease in Tayside (ELDIT) database, time-to-event modelling, predictive algorithms derived using the Weibull survival model, decision analyses from an NHS perspective, cost-utility analyses, and one-way and two-way sensitivity analyses. A total of 95,977 patients had 364,194 initial LFTs, with a median follow-up of 3.7 years. Of these, 21.7% had at least one abnormal liver function test (ALFT) and 1090 (1.14%) developed liver disease. Elevated transaminases were strongly associated with diagnosed liver disease, with hazard ratios (HRs) of 4.23 [95% CI (confidence interval) 3.55-5.04] for mild levels and 12.67 (95% CI 9.74-16.47) for severe levels versus normal. For gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), these HRs were 2.54 (95% CI 2.17-2.96) and 13.44 (10.71-16.87) respectively. Low albumin was strongly associated with all cause mortality, with ratios of 2.65 (95% CI 2.47-2.85) for mild levels and 4.99 (95% CI 4.26-5.84) for severe levels. Sensitivity for predicting events over 5 years was low and specificity was high. Follow-up time was split into baseline to 3 months, 3 months to 1 year and over 1 year. All LFTs were predictive of liver disease, and high probability of liver disease was associated with being female, methadone use, alcohol dependency and deprivation. The shorter-term models had overall c-statistics of 0.85 and 0.72 for outcome of liver disease at 3 months and 1 year respectively, and 0.88 and 0.82 for all cause mortality at 3 months and 1 year respectively. Calibration was good for models predicting liver disease. Discrimination was low for models predicting events at over 1 year. In cost-utility analyses, retesting dominated referral as an option. However, using the predictive algorithms to identify the top percentile at high risk of liver disease, retesting had an incremental cost-utility ratio of 7588 pounds relative to referral. GGT should be included in the batch of LFTs in primary care. If the patient in primary care has no obvious liver disease and a low or moderate risk of liver disease, retesting in primary care is the most cost-effective option. If the patient with ALFTs in primary care has a high risk of liver disease, retesting depends on the willingness to pay of the NHS. Cut-offs are arbitrary and in developing decision aids it is important to treat the LFT results as continuous variables.
 
To compare three outpatient methods of endometrial evaluation in terms of performance, patient acceptability and cost-effectiveness. Pragmatic unblinded trial randomised separately within three groups determined by risk of endometrial cancer. The gynaecology outpatient clinic of a large city hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland. Women referred for investigation and management of abnormal bleeding between January 1999 and May 2001. Investigations were: blind biopsy alone, hysteroscopy with biopsy, ultrasound evaluation including transvaginal ultrasound, and, in the low-risk group, the option of no investigation. Within this design, two devices for obtaining endometrial biopsy were compared, the Pipelle sampler and the Tao brush. Successful (informative) completion of the investigation, acceptability of the investigation method to women, women's satisfaction with clinic care in the short term and at 10 months and 2 years of follow-up, and cost-effectiveness to the end of investigation. Minor adverse events (e.g. shock, patient distress) did not occur for ultrasound, but occurred in 16% and 10% of women for hysteroscopy and biopsy procedures respectively. Pipelle biopsy provided an acceptable endometrial sample for 79% of moderate-risk women, but only 43% of high-risk women. The Tao brush gave similar performance in moderate-risk women (77%), but was more successful than the Pipelle sampler in postmenopausal (high-risk) women (72%). There were significantly more successful visualizations for ultrasound than for hysteroscopy in both the low-risk and the moderate-risk group, and a similar but non-significant trend in the high-risk group. Ultrasound was significantly better than hysteroscopy at detecting fibroids, but hysteroscopy significantly better for polyps. At the 10-month follow-up, high-risk women who had been investigated by hysteroscopy (with biopsy) had the most positive views of their clinic experience, but this effect had largely disappeared by 24 months. In the moderate-risk group, the subgroup randomised to biopsy alone gave the most negative responses about their clinic experience and health now. Women wishing they had more investigation comprised 22% of moderate-risk women and 38% of low-risk women, but only 14% of postmenopausal women. At follow-up the moderate-risk women (with menstrual bleeding problems), compared with postmenopausal women, had much worse ratings for clinic experience and health now. Resource use tended to be higher in the moderate- and low-risk women. There was minimal difference in cost-effectiveness between investigation options in the high-risk group, with the option involving hysteroscopy being marginally better than ultrasound. The most cost-effective investigation in the moderate-risk group was biopsy alone and in the low-risk group ultrasound. Decision-making about investigation would be clarified if postmenopausal women were studied separately from premenopausal women with menstrual bleeding problems. For postmenopausal women exclusion of cancer is a main objective, so once investigation has been completed discharge follows, but in the woman with abnormal menstrual bleeding, even if serious pathology is excluded, the original presenting symptoms require management. About 60% of premenopausal women with abnormal bleeding reported that their symptoms were not 'much improved' at 10 months. Research is needed to understand this phenomenon, and to explore ways to integrate patient factors into optimising evaluation and treatment. The significance of benign pathologies in this group also requires clarification. Given the relatively small differences observed in cost-effectiveness, there is justification for allowing other issues (such as clinician preferences and women's perspectives) to influence decisions as to the investigation method. There is scope to make better use of patient factors to inform decisions as to the most efficient and acceptable method of investigation for an individual woman. Additional analyses, using data available as a result of this study, will contribute to this agenda.
 
Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) and post-menopausal bleeding (PMB) together constitute the commonest gynaecological presentation in secondary care and impose substantial demands on health service resources. Accurate diagnosis is of key importance to realising effective treatment, reducing morbidity and, in the case of PMB, reducing mortality. There are many tests available, including transvaginal scan (TVS), endometrial biopsy (EBx), saline infusion sonography and outpatient hysteroscopy (OPH); however, optimal diagnostic work-up is unclear. To determine the most cost-effective diagnostic testing strategy for the diagnosis and treatment of (i) HMB and (ii) PMB. Parameter inputs were derived from systematic quantitative reviews, individual patient data (IPD) from existing data sets and focused searches for specific data. In the absence of data estimates, the consensus view of an expert clinical panel was obtained. Two clinically informed decision-analytic models were constructed to reflect current service provision for the diagnostic work-up of women presenting with HMB and PMB. The model-based economic evaluation took the form of a cost-effectiveness analysis from the perspective of the NHS in a contemporary, 'one-stop' secondary care clinical setting, where all indicated testing modalities would be available during a single visit. Two potentially cost-effective testing strategies for the initial investigation of women with HMB were identified: OPH alone or in combination with EBx. Although a combination testing strategy of OPH + EBx was marginally more effective, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was approximately £21,000 to gain one more satisfied patient, whereas for OPH it was just £360 when compared with treatment with the levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) without investigation. Initial testing with OPH was the most cost-effective testing approach for women wishing to preserve fertility and for women with symptoms refractory to empirical treatment with a LNG-IUS. For the investigation of PMB, selective use of TVS based on historical risk prediction for the diagnostic work-up of women presenting with PMB generated an ICER compared with our reference strategy of 'no initial work-up' of £129,000 per extra woman surviving 5 years. The ICERs for the two other non-dominated testing strategies, combining history and TVS or combining OPH and TVS, were over £2M each. In the absence of IPD, estimates of accuracy for test combinations presented some uncertainty where test results were modelled as being discordant. For initial investigation of women presenting to secondary care with HMB who do not require preservation of their fertility, our research suggests a choice between OPH alone or a combination of OPH and EBx. From our investigation, OPH appears to be the optimal first-line diagnostic test used for the investigation of women presenting to secondary care with HMB wishing to preserve their fertility or refractory to previous medical treatment with the LNG-IUS. We would suggest that the current recommendation of basing the initial investigation of women with PMB on the universal TVS measurement of endometrial thickness at a 5-mm threshold may need to be replaced by a strategy of restricting TVS to women with risk factors (e.g. increasing age-raised body mass index, diabetes or nulliparity), obtained from the preceding clinical assessment. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
As part of health technology assessment of rapid molecular tests, the health status changes and anxieties experienced by patients during the process of amniocentesis and waiting for results were explored. Patients were offered both a rapid test and karyotyping, both giving information on Trisotomies 21, 18 and 13 and sex-related abnormalities. Health status for the intervention group showed a loss of health status persisting through to the karyotyping result.
 
Background: In the UK, prostate cancer (PC) is the most common cancer in men. A diagnosis can be confirmed only following a prostate biopsy. Many men find themselves with an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level and a negative biopsy. The best way to manage these men remains uncertain. Objectives: To assess the diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques [dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI), diffusion-weighted MRI (DW-MRI)] and the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of strategies involving their use in aiding the localisation of prostate abnormalities for biopsy in patients with prior negative biopsy who remain clinically suspicious for harbouring malignancy. Data sources: Databases searched--MEDLINE (1946 to March 2012), MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations (March 2012), EMBASE (1980 to March 2012), Bioscience Information Service (BIOSIS; 1995 to March 2012), Science Citation Index (SCI; 1995 to March 2012), The Cochrane Library (Issue 3 2012), Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE; March 2012), Medion (March 2012) and Health Technology Assessment database (March 2012). Review methods: Types of studies: direct studies/randomised controlled trials reporting diagnostic outcomes. Index tests: MRS, DCE-MRI and DW-MRI. Comparators: T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (T2-MRI), transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy (TRUS/Bx). Reference standard: histopathological assessment of biopsied tissue. A Markov model was developed to assess the cost-effectiveness of alternative MRS/MRI sequences to direct TRUS-guided biopsies compared with systematic extended-cores TRUS-guided biopsies. A health service provider perspective was adopted and the recommended 3.5% discount rate was applied to costs and outcomes. Results: A total of 51 studies were included. In pooled estimates, sensitivity [95% confidence interval (CI)] was highest for MRS (92%; 95% CI 86% to 95%). Specificity was highest for TRUS (imaging test) (81%; 95% CI 77% to 85%). Lifetime costs ranged from £3895 using systematic TRUS-guided biopsies to £4056 using findings on T2-MRI or DCE-MRI to direct biopsies (60-year-old cohort, cancer prevalence 24%). The base-case incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for T2-MRI was <£30,000 per QALY (all cohorts). Probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed high uncertainty surrounding the incremental cost-effectiveness of T2-MRI in moderate prevalence cohorts. The cost-effectiveness of MRS compared with T2-MRI and TRUS was sensitive to several key parameters. Limitations: Non-English-language studies were excluded. Few studies reported DCE-MRI/DW-MRI. The modelling was hampered by limited data on the relative diagnostic accuracy of alternative strategies, the natural history of cancer detected at repeat biopsy, and the impact of diagnosis and treatment on disease progression and health-related quality of life. Conclusions: MRS had higher sensitivity and specificity than T2-MRI. Relative cost-effectiveness of alternative strategies was sensitive to key parameters/assumptions. Under certain circumstances T2-MRI may be cost-effective compared with systematic TRUS. If MRS and DW-MRI can be shown to have high sensitivity for detecting moderate/high-risk cancer, while negating patients with no cancer/low-risk disease to undergo biopsy, their use could represent a cost-effective approach to diagnosis. However, owing to the relative paucity of reliable data, further studies are required. In particular, prospective studies are required in men with suspected PC and elevated PSA levels but previously negative biopsy comparing the utility of the individual and combined components of a multiparametric magnetic resonance (MR) approach (MRS, DCE-MRI and DW-MRI) with both a MR-guided/-directed biopsy session and an extended 14-core TRUS-guided biopsy scheme against a reference standard of histopathological assessment of biopsied tissue obtained via saturation biopsy, template biopsy or prostatectomy specimens. Study registration: PROSPERO number CRD42011001376. Funding: The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
 
To compare the performance and cost-effectiveness of the key absorbent product designs to provide a more solid basis for guiding selection and purchase. Also to carry out the first stage in the development of a quality of life (QoL) instrument for measuring the impact of absorbent product use on users' lives. Three clinical trials focused on the three biggest market sectors. Each trial had a similar crossover design in which each participant tested all products within their group in random order. SETTING, PARTICIPANTS AND INTERVENTIONS: In Trial 1, 85 women with light urinary incontinence living in the community tested three products from each of the four design categories available (total of 12 test products): disposable inserts (pads); menstrual pads; washable pants with integral pad; and washable inserts. In Trial 2a, 85 moderate/heavily incontinent adults (urinary or urinary/faecal) living in the community (49 men and 36 women) tested three (or two) products from each of the five design categories available (total of 14 test products): disposable inserts (with mesh pants); disposable diapers (nappies); disposable pull-ups (similar to toddlers' trainer pants); disposable T-shaped diapers (nappies with waist-band); and washable diapers. All products were provided in a daytime and a (mostly more absorbent) night-time variant. In these first two trials, the test products were selected on the basis of data from pilot studies. In Trial 2b, 100 moderate/heavily incontinent adults (urinary or urinary/faecal) living in 10 nursing homes (27 men and 73 women) evaluated one product from each of the four disposable design categories from Trial 2a. Products were selected on the basis of product performance in Trial 2a and, again, day time and night-time variants were provided. The first phase of developing a QoL tool for measuring the impact of using different pad designs was carried out by interviewing participants from Trials 1 and 2a. Product performance (e.g. comfort, discreetness) was characterised using a weekly validated questionnaire. A daily pad change and leakage diary was used to record severity of leakage, numbers of laundry items and pads. Skin health changes were recorded weekly. At a final interview preferences were ranked, acceptability of each design recorded, and overall opinion marked on a visual analogue scale (VAS) of 0-100 points. This VAS score was used to estimate cost-effectiveness. In addition, a timed pad changing exercise was conducted with 10 women from Trial 2b to determine any differences between product designs. Disposable inserts are currently the mainstay of management for lightly incontinent women (Trial 1) and they were better for leakage and other variables (but not discreetness) and better overall than the other three designs. However, some women preferred menstrual pads (6/85) or washable pants (13/85), both of which are cheaper to use. Washable inserts were worse both overall and for leakage than the other three designs (72/85 found them unacceptable). For disposable inserts and disposable diapers, findings from the community (Trial 2a) and nursing home trials (Trial 2b) were broadly similar. Leakage performance of disposable inserts was worse than that of the other designs for day and night. Pull-ups were preferred over inserts for the daytime. The new T-shaped diaper was not better overall than the traditional disposable one. However, there were important differences in performance and preference findings for men and women from both trials. Pull-ups (the most expensive) were better overall than the other designs for women during the day and for community-dwelling women during the night. Although disposable diapers were better for leakage than disposable inserts (the cheapest), women did not prefer them (except in nursing homes at night), but for men the diapers were better both overall and for leakage and were the most cost-effective design. No firm conclusions could be drawn about the performance of designs for faecal incontinence. Nursing home carers found pull-ups and inserts easier to apply (in the standing position) and quicker (in the pad change experiment) than the diaper designs; the ability to stand was associated with preference for pull-ups or inserts. The T-shaped diaper was not easier or quicker to change than the diaper. The washable products (Trial 2a) gave diverse results: they were better for leakage at night, but were worse overall for daytime than the other designs. Three-quarters of the women (27/36) found them unacceptable, but nearly two-thirds of men (31/49) found them highly acceptable at night. Findings from the two community trials (Trials 1 and 2a) showed that there were many practical problems in dealing with washable products but, together with the less effective and less expensive products, such as menstrual pads, they were more acceptable at home (and, in the case of washables, at night). This suggests that cost-effective management may involve combining products by using more effective (for a given user) but more expensive designs (e.g. pull-ups) when out and less effective but less expensive designs when at home. The interviews examining the impact of pad use on QoL provided themes and domains that can be further developed into a tool for further evaluation of absorbent products. This study showed that there were significant and substantial differences between the designs of absorbent products and for moderate/heavy incontinence some designs are better for men/women than others. There was considerable individual variability in preferences and cost-effective management may best be achieved by allowing users to choose combinations of designs for different circumstances within a budget. Further research is needed into the feasibility of providing choice and combinations of designs to users, as well as into the development of more effective washables and of specifically male disposable products. QoL measurement tools are needed for users of absorbent products, as are clinical trials of designs for community-dwelling carer-dependent men and women with moderate/heavy incontinence.
 
To assess the extent of use of data from conference abstracts and presentations in health technology assessments (HTAs) provided as part of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) appraisal process. Also to assess the methodological quality of trials from conference abstracts and presentations, the consistency of reporting major outcomes between these sources and subsequent full-length publications, the effect of inclusion or exclusion of data from these sources on the meta-analysis pooled effect estimates, and the timeliness of availability of data from these sources and full articles in relation to the development of technology assessment reviews (TARs). A survey of seven TAR groups. An audit of published TARs: included all NICE TARs published between January 2000 and October 2004. Case studies of selected TARs. Analyses of the results of the survey and audit were presented as a descriptive summary and in a tabular format. Sensitivity analyses were carried out to compare the effect of inclusion of data from abstracts and presentations on the meta-analysis pooled effect estimates by including data from both abstracts/presentations and full papers, and data from only full publications, included in the original TAR. These analyses were then compared with meta-analysis of data from trials that have subsequently been published in full. All seven TAR groups completed and returned the survey. Five out of seven groups reported a general policy that included searching for and including studies available as conference abstracts/presentations. Five groups responded that if they included data from these sources they would carry out methodological quality assessment of studies from these sources using the same assessment tools as for full publications, and manage the data from these sources in the same way as fully published reports. All groups reported that if relevant outcome data were reported in both an abstract/presentation and a full publication, they would only consider the data in the full publication. Conversely, if data were only available in conference abstract/presentation, all but two groups reported that they would extract and use the data from the abstract/presentation. In total, 63 HTA reports for NICE were identified. In 20 of 63 TARs (32%) explicit statements were made with regards to inclusion and assessment of data from abstracts/presentations. Thirty-eight (60%) identified at least one randomised controlled trial (RCT) available as a conference abstract or presentation. Of these, 26 (68%) included trials available as abstracts/presentations. About 80% (20/26) of the 26 TARs that included RCTs in abstract/presentation form carried out an assessment of the methodological quality of such trials. In 16 TARs full reports of these trials were used for quality assessment where both abstracts/presentations and subsequent full publications were available. Twenty-three of 63 TARs (37%) carried out a quantitative analysis of results. Of these, ten (43%) included trials that were available as abstracts/presentations in the review; however, only 60% (6/10) of these included data from abstracts/presentations in the data analysis of results. Thirteen TARs evaluated rapidly evolving technologies and only three of these identified and included trial data from conference abstracts/presentations and carried out a quantitative analysis where abstract/presentation data were used. These three TARs were used as case studies. In all three case studies the overall quality of reporting in abstracts/presentations was generally poor. In all case studies abstracts and presentations failed to describe the method of randomisation or allocation concealment. Overall, there was no mention of blinding in 66% (25/38) of the abstracts and in 26% (7/27) of the presentations included in case studies, and one presentation (4%) explicitly stated use of intention-to-treat analysis. Results from one case study demonstrated discrepancies in data made available in abstracts or online conference presentations. Not only were discrepancies evident between these sources, but also comparison of conference abstracts/presentations with subsequently published full-length articles demonstrates data discrepancies in reporting of results. Sensitivity analyses based on one case study indicated a change in significance of effect in two outcome measures when only full papers published to date were included. There are variations in policy and practice across TAR groups regarding searching for and inclusion of studies available as conference abstracts/presentations. There is also variation in the level of detail reported in TARs regarding the use of abstracts/presentations. Therefore, TAR teams should be encouraged to state explicitly their search strategies for identifying conference abstracts and presentations, their methods for assessing these for inclusion, and where appropriate how the data were used and their effect on the results. Comprehensive searching for trials available as conference abstracts/presentations is time consuming and may be of questionable value. However, there may be a case for searching for and including abstract/presentation data if, for example, other sources of data are limited. If conference abstracts/presentations are to be included, the TAR teams need to allocate additional time for searching and managing data from these sources. Incomplete reporting in conference abstracts and presentations limits the ability of reviewers to assess confidently the methodological quality of trials. Where conference abstracts and presentations are considered for inclusion in the review, the TAR teams should increase their efforts to obtain further study details by contacting trialists. Where abstract/presentation data are included, reviewers should discuss the effect of including data from these sources. Any data discrepancies identified across sources in TARs should be highlighted and their impact discussed in the review. In addition, there is a need to carry out, for example, a sensitivity analysis with and without abstract/presentation data in the analysis. There is a need for research into the development of search strategies specific to identification of studies available as conference abstracts and presentations in TARs. Such strategies may include guidance with regard to identification of relevant electronic databases and appropriate conference sites relevant to certain clinical areas. As there are limited case studies included in this report, analyses should be repeated as more TARs accrue, or include the work of other international HTA groups.
 
Top-cited authors
Andrew Clegg
  • University of Central Lancashire
Joanna Picot
  • University of Southampton
Jeremy Mark Jones
  • University of Southampton
Emma Loveman
  • Effective Evidence LLP
Alex J Sutton
  • University of Leicester