Invasive urodynamic testing prior to surgical treatment for stress urinary incontinence in women: cost-effectiveness and value of information analyses in the context of a mixed methods feasibility study

INVESTIGATE-I (INVasive Evaluation before Surgical Treatment of Incontinence Gives Added Therapeutic Effect?) was a mixed methods study to assess the feasibility of a future randomised controlled trial of invasive urodynamic testing (IUT) prior to surgery for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women. Here we report one of the study's five components, with the specific objectives of (i) exploring the cost-effectiveness of IUT compared with clinical assessment plus non-invasive tests (henceforth described as 'IUT' and 'no IUT' respectively) in women with SUI or stress-predominant mixed urinary incontinence (MUI) prior to surgery, and (ii) determining the expected net gain (ENG) from additional research.

Study participants were women with SUI or stress-predominant MUI who had failed to respond to conservative treatments recruited from seven UK urogynaecology and female urology units. They were randomised to receive either 'IUT' or 'no IUT' before undergoing further treatment. Data from 218 women were used in the economic analysis. Cost utility, net benefit and value of information (VoI) analyses were performed within a randomised controlled pilot trial. Costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were estimated over 6 months to determine the incremental cost per QALY of 'IUT' compared to 'no IUT'. Net monetary benefit informed the VoI analysis. The VoI estimated the ENG and optimal sample size for a future definitive trial.

At 6 months, the mean difference in total average cost was £138 (p = 0.071) in favour of 'IUT'; there was no difference in QALYs estimated from the SF-12 (difference 0.004;p = 0.425) and EQ-5D-3L (difference - 0.004;p = 0.725); therefore, the probability of IUT being cost-effective remains uncertain. The estimated ENG was positive for further research to address this uncertainty with an optimal sample size of 404 women.

This is the largest economic evaluation of IUT. On average, up to 6 months after treatment, 'IUT' may be cost-saving compared to 'no IUT' because of the reduction in surgery following invasive investigation. However, uncertainty remains over the probability of 'IUT' being considered cost-effective, especially in the longer term. The VoI analysis indicated that further research would be of value.

ISRCTN. ISRCTN71327395. Registered 7 June 2010.

Pilot and feasibility studies. 2018 Mar 23*** epublish ***

Tara Homer, Jing Shen, Luke Vale, Elaine McColl, Douglas G Tincello, Paul Hilton, INVESTIGATE-I studies group

1Health Economics Group, Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University, Baddiley-Clark Building, Richardson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4AX UK., 2Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK., 3Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.