Economic Modelling of Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Literature Review to Inform Conceptual Model Design

Pharmacoeconomics. 2019 Dec;37(12):1451-1468. doi: 10.1007/s40273-019-00835-z.


Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive condition that leads to irreversible damage to the kidneys and is associated with an increased incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality. As novel interventions become available, estimates of economic and clinical outcomes are needed to guide payer reimbursement decisions.

Objective: The aim of the present study was to systematically review published economic models that simulated long-term outcomes of kidney disease to inform cost-effectiveness evaluations of CKD treatments.

Methods: The review was conducted across four databases (MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane library and EconLit) and health technology assessment agency websites. Relevant information on each model was extracted. Transition and mortality rates were also extracted to assess the choice of model parameterisation on disease progression by simulating patient's time with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and time to ESRD/death. The incorporation of cardiovascular disease in a population with CKD was qualitatively assessed across identified models.

Results: The search identified 101 models that met the criteria for inclusion. Models were classified into CKD models (n = 13), diabetes models with nephropathy (n = 48), ESRD-only models (n = 33) and cardiovascular models with CKD components (n = 7). Typically, published models utilised frameworks based on either (estimated or measured) glomerular filtration rate (GFR) or albuminuria, in line with clinical guideline recommendations for the diagnosis and monitoring of CKD. Generally, two core structures were identified, either a microsimulation model involving albuminuria or a Markov model utilising CKD stages and a linear GFR decline (although further variations on these model structures were also identified). Analysis of parameter variability in CKD disease progression suggested that mean time to ESRD/death was relatively consistent across model types (CKD models 28.2 years; diabetes models with nephropathy 24.6 years). When evaluating time with ESRD, CKD models predicted extended ESRD survival over diabetes models with nephropathy (mean time with ESRD 8.0 vs. 3.8 years).

Discussion: This review provides an overview of how CKD is typically modelled. While common frameworks were identified, model structure varied, and no single model type was used for the modelling of patients with CKD. In addition, many of the current methods did not explicitly consider patient heterogeneity or underlying disease aetiology, except for diabetes. However, the variability of individual patients' GFR and albuminuria trajectories perhaps provides rationale for a model structure designed around the prediction of individual patients' GFR trajectories. Frameworks of future CKD models should be informed and justified based on clinical rationale and availability of data to ensure validity of model results. In addition, further clinical and observational research is warranted to provide a better understanding of prognostic factors and data sources to improve economic modelling accuracy in CKD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / economics*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / economics*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / mortality
  • Disease Progression
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Markov Chains
  • Models, Economic*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / economics*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / mortality
  • Treatment Outcome