Cost-effectiveness and budget impact of adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen therapy for diabetic foot ulcers

Int J Technol Assess Health Care. Spring 2008;24(2):178-83. doi: 10.1017/S0266462308080252.


Background: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been proposed as an adjunct to standard methods of care for diabetic foot ulcers (DFU). Its use may decrease the risk of infection and lower extremity amputations (LEAs). As part of a Canadian assessment, we estimated the cost-effectiveness and budget impact of HBOT in this application.

Methods: We developed a decision model comparing adjunctive HBOT with standard care alone. The population was a 65-year-old cohort with DFU. The time horizon was 12 years taken from a Ministry of Health perspective. The health states were a healed wound with or without a minor LEA, an unhealed wound with no related surgery, and a major LEA. Efficacy data were based on outcomes reported in studies included in a literature review. Cost and capacity needs for treating DFU patients in Canada were estimated using prevalence data from the literature, and cost and utilization data from government records.

Results: The 12-year cost for patients receiving HBOT was CND$40,695 compared with CND$49,786 for standard care alone. Outcomes were 3.64 quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) for those receiving HBOT and 3.01 QALYs for controls. Estimated cost to treat all prevalent DFU cases in Canada was CND$14.4-19.7 million/year over 4 years. If seven-person HBOT chambers were used, a further nineteen to thirty-five machines would be required nationally.

Conclusions: Adjunctive HBOT for DFU is cost-effective compared with standard care. Additional HBOT capacity would be needed if it were to be adopted as the standard of care throughout Canada.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amputation / economics
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / economics*
  • Models, Econometric
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical