The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between diagnosis and the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of lung transplantation.
A microsimulation model was used, based on empirical data from the Dutch lung transplantation program, collected between 1991 and 1999. We assessed life-years, quality-adjusted life-years, and costs with and without transplantation for the diagnostic categories alfa-1 antitrypsin deficiency, COPD/emphysema, bronchiectasis, primary and secondary pulmonary hypertension, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary fibrosis.
Alfa-1 antitrypsin deficiency and bronchiectasis had the highest survival gain. Secondary pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary fibrosis had the lowest survival gain and the lowest gain of quality-adjusted life-years. As compared with COPD/emphysema, alfa-1 antitrypsin deficiency, bronchiectasis, and CF had 25%, 40% and 19% more favorable cost-effectiveness ratios, respectively. Cost-utility ratios varied less, with values of −7%, −14% and −11% for alfa-1 antitrypsin deficiency, bronchiectasis, and primary pulmonary hypertension, respectively, compared with COPD.
In conclusion, our model suggests that there is considerable variation in cost-effectiveness and, to a lesser degree, in cost-utility between the different diagnostic categories. These variations are the result of differences in survival and in quality of life with and without lung transplantation.