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Global Patterns of QALY and DALY Use in Surgical Cost-Utility Analyses: A Systematic Review.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Surgical interventions are being increasingly recognized as cost-effective global priorities, the utility of which are frequently measured using either quality-adjusted (QALY) or disability-adjusted (DALY) life years. The objectives of this study were to: (1) identify surgical cost-effectiveness studies that utilized a formulation of the QALY or DALY as a summary measure, (2) report on global patterns of QALY and DALY use in surgery and the income characteristics of the countries and/or regions involved, and (3) assess for possible associations between national/regional-income levels and the relative prominence of either measure. STUDY DESIGN:PRISMA-guided systematic review of surgical cost-effectiveness studies indexed in PubMed or EMBASE prior to December 15, 2014, that used the DALY and/or QALY as a summary measure. National locations were used to classify publications based on the 2014 World Bank income stratification scheme into: low-, lower-middle-, upper-middle-, or high-income countries. Differences in QALY/DALY use were considered by income level as well as for differences in geographic location and year using descriptive statistics (two-sided Chi-squared tests, Fischer's exact tests in cell counts <5). RESULTS:A total of 540 publications from 128 countries met inclusion criteria, representing 825 "national studies" (regional publications included data from multiple countries). Data for 69.0% (569/825) were reported using QALYs (2.1% low-, 1.2% lower-middle-, 4.4% upper-middle-, and 92.3% high-income countries), compared to 31.0% (256/825) reported using DALYs (46.9% low-, 31.6% lower-middle-, 16.8% upper-middle-, and 4.7% high-income countries) (p<0.001). Studies from the US and the UK dominated the total number of QALY studies (49.9%) and were themselves almost exclusively QALY-based. DALY use, in contrast, was the most common in Africa and Asia. While prominent published use of QALYs (1990s) in surgical cost-effectiveness studies began approximately 10 years earlier than DALYs (2000s), the use of both measures continues to increase. CONCLUSION:As global prioritization of surgical interventions gains prominence, it will be important to consider the comparative implications of summary measure use. The results of this study demonstrate significant income- and geographic-based differences in the preferential utilization of the QALY and DALY for surgical cost-effectiveness studies. Such regional variation holds important implications for efforts to interpret and utilize global health policy research. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42015015991.

SUBMITTER: Rios-Diaz AJ 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4749322 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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