OBJECTIVES: Monte Carlo microsimulations have gained increasing popularity in decision-analytic modeling because they can incorporate discrete events. Although deterministic sensitivity analyses are essential for interpretation of results, it remains difficult to combine these alongside Monte Carlo simulations in standard modeling packages without enormous time investment. Our purpose was to facilitate one-way deterministic sensitivity analysis of TreeAge Markov state-transition models requiring first-order Monte Carlo simulations. METHODS AND RESULTS: Using TreeAge Pro Suite 2007 and Microsoft Visual Basic for EXCEL, we constructed a generic script that enables one to perform automated deterministic one-way sensitivity analyses in EXCEL employing microsimulation models. In addition, we constructed a generic EXCEL-worksheet that allows for use of the script with little programming knowledge. CONCLUSIONS: Linking TreeAge Pro Suite 2007 and Visual Basic enables the performance of deterministic sensitivity analyses of first-order Monte Carlo simulations. There are other potentially interesting applications for automated analysis.
OBJECTIVES: For economic evaluations of chronic heart failure (CHF) management strategies, utilities are not currently available for disease proxies commonly used in Markov models. Our objective was to estimate utilities for New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification and number of cardiovascular rehospitalizations. METHODS: EuroQol 5D data from the Eplerenone Post-acute Myocardial Infarction Heart Failure Efficacy and Survival Study trial were used to estimate utilities as a function of NYHA classification and number of cardiovascular rehospitalizations. RESULTS: In multivariate regression analyses adjusted for age (60 years), female sex and absence of further comorbidities, utilities for NYHA classes I-IV were 0.90, 0.83, 0.74, and 0.60 (P-value < 0.001 for trend). For cardiovascular rehospitalizations 0, 1, 2 and >or=3, the associated utilities were 0.88, 0.85, 0.84, and 0.82 (P-value < 0.001 for trend). CONCLUSIONS: NYHA class and number of cardiovascular rehospitalizations are established proxies for CHF progression and can be linked to utilities when used as health states in a Markov model. NYHA class should be used when feasible.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: While management programmes (MPs) for chronic heart failure (CHF) are clinically effective, their cost-effectiveness remains uncertain. Thus, this study sought to determine the cost-effectiveness of MPs. METHODS AND RESULTS: We developed a Markov model to estimate life expectancy, quality-adjusted life expectancy, lifetime costs, and the incremental cost-effectiveness of MPs as compared to standard care. Standard care was defined by the EuroHeart Failure Survey for Germany, MP efficacy was derived from our recent meta-analysis and cost estimates were based on the German healthcare system. For a population with a mean age 67 years (35% female) at onset of CHF, our model predicted an average quality-adjusted life expectancy of 2.64 years for standard care and 2.83 years for MP. MP yielded additional lifetime costs of euro1700 resulting in an incremental cost-utility ratio (ICUR) of euro8900 (95% CI: dominant to 177,100) per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that the ICUR was sensitive to age and sex. CONCLUSION: MPs increase life expectancy in patients with CHF by an average of 84 days and increase lifetime cost of care by approximately euro1700. MPs improve outcomes in a cost-effective manner, although they are not cost-saving on a lifetime horizon.