Purpose: Laser photocoagulation has been shown in a large clinical trial to be efficacious in reducing the degree of vision loss occurring secondary to choroidal neovascularization (CNV) associated with ocular histoplasmosis. Nevertheless, data are lacking concerning the impact of the therapy on quality of life and its value to stakeholders in health care. Recently, information concerning the utility value of visual states has become available. Accordingly, the authors undertook to ascertain the cost-effectiveness of laser photocoagulation for the treatment of extrafoveal CNV occurring in eyes with ocular histoplasmosis.
Methods: Design--A computer simulation, econometric model is presented to evaluate the incremental cost-effectiveness of laser photocoagulation therapy, as compared with the natural course of the disease, for the treatment of patients with extrafoveal CNV associated with ocular histoplasmosis. The model applies long-term visual data from previous clinical trials, utility analysis (which reflects patient perceptions of quality of life), decision analysis with Markov modeling, and present value analysis with discounting to account for the time value of money. Outcome measure--Cost per quality-adjusted life-year gained from treatment.
Results: Laser photocoagulation therapy for extrafoveal CNV associated with ocular histoplasmosis costs $4167 1999 US dollars (at a 3% discount rate) for each quality-adjusted life-year gained from treatment. Sensitivity analysis shows that changing the discount rate substantially alters the cost-effectiveness, with a value of $1339 at a 0% discount rate and $56,250 at a 10% discount rate.
Conclusions: Compared with therapeutic modalities for other disease entities, laser therapy for the treatment of extrafoveal CNV associated with ocular histoplasmosis appears to be a cost-effective treatment from the patient preference-based point of view.