R.R. Taylor, E. Sladkevicius, J.F. Guest
Journal of Wound Care, Vol. 20, Iss. 10, 12 Oct 2011, pp 464 - 472
Objective: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of using electric stimulation (ES) therapy (Accel-Heal) plus dressings and compression bandaging compared with dressings and compression bandaging alone in treating chronic, non-healing venous leg ulcers (VLUs) of >6 months' duration from the perspective of the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.
Method: A 5-month Markov model was constructed, depicting the management of a chronic, non-healing VLU of >6 months' duration. The model considers the decision by a clinician to continue with a patient's previous care plan (comprising dressings and compression bandaging) or treating with ES therapy plus dressings and compression bandaging. The model was used to estimate the relative cost-effectiveness of ES therapy at 2008-2009 prices.
Results: According to the model, 38% of VLUs are expected to heal within 5 months after starting ES therapy, with a further 57% expected to improve. This improvement in clinical outcome is expected to lead to a 6% health gain of 0.017 QALYs (from 0.299 to 0.316 QALYs) over 5 months. The model also showed that using ES therapy instead of continuing with a patient's previous care plan is expected to reduce the NHS cost of managing them by 15%, from £880 to £749, due in part to a 27% reduction in the requirement for nurse visits (from mean 49.0 to 35.9 visits per patient) over the first 5 months after the start of treatment. Hence, use of ES therapy was found to be a dominant treatment (improved outcome for less cost).
Conclusion: Within the model's limitations, use of ES therapy potentially affords the NHS a cost-effective treatment, compared with patients remaining on their previous care plan in managing chronic, non-healing VLUs of >6 months' duration. However, this is dependant on the number of ES therapy units per treatment, the unit cost of the device, and the number of nurse visits required to manage patients in clinical practice.
Declaration of interest: This study was sponsored by Synapse Microcurrent Ltd., manufacturers of Accel-Heal. The authors have no other conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this manuscript. In particular, Synapse Microcurrent Ltd. had no role in the study design, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, or in writing the manuscript.