Magnetic Resonance-Guided High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (MRgHIFU) for Treatment of Symptomatic Uterine Fibroids: An Economic Analysis.
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BACKGROUND: Uterine fibroids, or leiomyomas, are the most common benign tumours in women of childbearing age. Some women experience symptoms (e.g., heavy bleeding) that require aggressive forms of treatment such as uterine artery embolization (UAE), myomectomy, magnetic resonance-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (MRgHIFU), and even hysterectomy. It is important to note that hysterectomy is not appropriate for women who desire future childbearing. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this analysis was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and budgetary impact of implementing MRgHIFU as a treatment option for symptomatic uterine fibroids in premenopausal women for whom drugs have been ineffective. REVIEW METHODS: We performed an original cost-effectiveness analysis to assess the long-term costs and effects of MRgHIFU compared with hysterectomy, myomectomy, and UAE as a strategy for treating symptomatic uterine fibroids in premenopausal women aged 40 to 51 years. We explored a number of scenarios, e.g., comparing MRgHIFU with uterine-preserving procedures only, considering MRgHIFU-eligible patients only, and eliminating UAE as a treatment option. In addition, we performed a one-year budget impact analysis, using data from Ontario administrative sources. Four scenarios were explored in the budgetary impact analysis: •MRgHIFU funded at 2 centres •MRgHIFU funded at 2 centres and replacing only uterine-preserving procedures •MRgHIFU funded at 6 centres •MRgHIFU funded at 6 centres and replacing only uterine-preserving procedures Analyses were conducted from the Ontario public payer perspective. RESULTS: The base case determined that the uterine artery embolization (UAE) treatment strategy was the cost-effective option at commonly accepted willingness-to-pay values. Compared with hysterectomy, UAE was calculated as having an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $46,480 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained. The MRgHIFU strategy was extendedly dominated by a combination of UAE and hysterectomy, and myomectomy was strictly dominated by MRgHIFU and UAE. In the scenario where only MRgHIFU-eligible patients were considered, MRgHIFU was the cost-effective option for a willingness-to-pay threshold of $50,000. In the scenario where only MRgHIFU-eligible patients were considered and where UAE was eliminated as a treatment option (due to its low historic utilization in Ontario), MRgHIFU was cost-effective with an incremental cost of $39,250 per additional QALY. The budgetary impact of funding MRgHIFU for treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids was estimated at $1.38 million in savings when funded to replace all types of procedures at 2 centres, and $1.14 million when funded to replace only uterine-preserving procedures at 2 centres. The potential savings increase to $4.15 million when MRgHIFU is funded at 6 centres to treat all women eligible for the procedure. Potential savings at 6 centres decrease slightly, to $3.42 million, when MRgHIFU is funded to replace uterine-preserving procedures only. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that MRgHIFU may be a cost-effective strategy at commonly accepted willingness-to-pay thresholds, after examining the uncertainty in model parameters and several likely scenarios. In terms of budget impact, the implementation of MRgHIFU could potentially result in one-year savings of $1.38 million and $4.15 million in the scenarios where MRgHIFU is implemented in 2 or 6 centres, respectively. From a patient perspective, it is important to consider that MRgHIFU is the least invasive of all fibroid treatment options for women who have not responded to pharmaceuticals; it is the only one that is completely noninvasive. Also important, from a societal point of view, is the potential benefit from faster recovery times. Despite these benefits, implementation of MRgHIFU beyond the 2 centres which currently offer the treatment faces logistical challenges (for example, competing demands for use of existing equipment), as well as financial challenges, with hospitals needing to fundraise to purchase new equipment.
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