• Assessing the cost effectiveness of using prognostic biomarkers with decision models: case study in prioritising patients waiting for coronary artery surgery.

      Henriksson, Martin; Palmer, Stephen; Chen, Ruoling; Damant, Jacqueline; Fitzpatrick, Natalie K; Abrams, Keith; Hingorani, Aroon D; Stenestrand, Ulf; Janzon, Magnus; Feder, Gene; et al. (BMJ, 2010-01-20)
      To determine the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of using information from circulating biomarkers to inform the prioritisation process of patients with stable angina awaiting coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Decision analytical model comparing four prioritisation strategies without biomarkers (no formal prioritisation, two urgency scores, and a risk score) and three strategies based on a risk score using biomarkers: a routinely assessed biomarker (estimated glomerular filtration rate), a novel biomarker (C reactive protein), or both. The order in which to perform coronary artery bypass grafting in a cohort of patients was determined by each prioritisation strategy, and mean lifetime costs and quality adjusted life years (QALYs) were compared. Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Registry (9935 patients with stable angina awaiting coronary artery bypass grafting and then followed up for cardiovascular events after the procedure for 3.8 years), and meta-analyses of prognostic effects (relative risks) of biomarkers. The observed risk of cardiovascular events while on the waiting list for coronary artery bypass grafting was 3 per 10,000 patients per day within the first 90 days (184 events in 9935 patients). Using a cost effectiveness threshold of pound20,000- pound30,000 (euro22,000-euro33,000; $32,000-$48,000) per additional QALY, a prioritisation strategy using a risk score with estimated glomerular filtration rate was the most cost effective strategy (cost per additional QALY was < pound410 compared with the Ontario urgency score). The impact on population health of implementing this strategy was 800 QALYs per 100,000 patients at an additional cost of pound 245,000 to the National Health Service. The prioritisation strategy using a risk score with C reactive protein was associated with lower QALYs and higher costs compared with a risk score using estimated glomerular filtration rate.
    • Evaluating the quality of research into a single prognostic biomarker: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 83 studies of C-reactive protein in stable coronary artery disease.

      Hemingway, Harry; Philipson, Peter; Chen, Ruoling; Fitzpatrick, Natalie K; Damant, Jacqueline; Shipley, Martin; Abrams, Keith; Moreno, Santiago; McAllister, Kate S L; Palmer, Stephen; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2010-06-01)
      Systematic evaluations of the quality of research on a single prognostic biomarker are rare. We sought to evaluate the quality of prognostic research evidence for the association of C-reactive protein (CRP) with fatal and nonfatal events among patients with stable coronary disease. We searched MEDLINE (1966 to 2009) and EMBASE (1980 to 2009) and selected prospective studies of patients with stable coronary disease, reporting a relative risk for the association of CRP with death and nonfatal cardiovascular events. We included 83 studies, reporting 61,684 patients and 6,485 outcome events. No study reported a prespecified statistical analysis protocol; only two studies reported the time elapsed (in months or years) between initial presentation of symptomatic coronary disease and inclusion in the study. Studies reported a median of seven items (of 17) from the REMARK reporting guidelines, with no evidence of change over time. The pooled relative risk for the top versus bottom third of CRP distribution was 1.97 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.78-2.17), with substantial heterogeneity (I(2) = 79.5). Only 13 studies adjusted for conventional risk factors (age, sex, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol) and these had a relative risk of 1.65 (95% CI 1.39-1.96), I(2) = 33.7. Studies reported ten different ways of comparing CRP values, with weaker relative risks for those based on continuous measures. Adjusting for publication bias (for which there was strong evidence, Egger's p<0.001) using a validated method reduced the relative risk to 1.19 (95% CI 1.13-1.25). Only two studies reported a measure of discrimination (c-statistic). In 20 studies the detection rate for subsequent events could be calculated and was 31% for a 10% false positive rate, and the calculated pooled c-statistic was 0.61 (0.57-0.66). Multiple types of reporting bias, and publication bias, make the magnitude of any independent association between CRP and prognosis among patients with stable coronary disease sufficiently uncertain that no clinical practice recommendations can be made. Publication of prespecified statistical analytic protocols and prospective registration of studies, among other measures, might help improve the quality of prognostic biomarker research.
    • The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of biomarkers for the prioritisation of patients awaiting coronary revascularisation: a systematic review and decision model.

      Hemingway, H; Henriksson, M; Chen, R; Damant, J; Fitzpatrick, N; Abrams, Keith; Hingorani, A; Janzon, M; Shipley, M; Feder, G; et al. (NIHR, 2010-02-01)
      To determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a range of strategies based on conventional clinical information and novel circulating biomarkers for prioritising patients with stable angina awaiting coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched from 1966 until 30 November 2008. We carried out systematic reviews and meta-analyses of literature-based estimates of the prognostic effects of circulating biomarkers in stable coronary disease. We assessed five routinely measured biomarkers and the eight emerging (i.e. not currently routinely measured) biomarkers recommended by the European Society of Cardiology Angina guidelines. The cost-effectiveness of prioritising patients on the waiting list for CABG using circulating biomarkers was compared against a range of alternative formal approaches to prioritisation as well as no formal prioritisation. A decision-analytic model was developed to synthesise data on a range of effectiveness, resource use and value parameters necessary to determine cost-effectiveness. A total of seven strategies was evaluated in the final model. We included 390 reports of biomarker effects in our review. The quality of individual study reports was variable, with evidence of small study (publication) bias and incomplete adjustment for simple clinical information such as age, sex, smoking, diabetes and obesity. The risk of cardiovascular events while on the waiting list for CABG was 3 per 10,000 patients per day within the first 90 days (184 events in 9935 patients with a mean of 59 days at risk). Risk factors associated with an increased risk, and included in the basic risk equation, were age, diabetes, heart failure, previous myocardial infarction and involvement of the left main coronary artery or three-vessel disease. The optimal strategy in terms of cost-effectiveness considerations was a prioritisation strategy employing biomarker information. Evaluating shorter maximum waiting times did not alter the conclusion that a prioritisation strategy with a risk score using estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was cost-effective. These results were robust to most alternative scenarios investigating other sources of uncertainty. However, the cost-effectiveness of the strategy using a risk score with both eGFR and C-reactive protein (CRP) was potentially sensitive to the cost of the CRP test itself (assumed to be 6 pounds in the base-case scenario).
    • Threshold haemoglobin levels and the prognosis of stable coronary disease: two new cohorts and a systematic review and meta-analysis.

      Shah, Anoop D; Nicholas, Owen; Timmis, Adam D; Feder, Gene; Abrams, Keith; Chen, Ruoling; Hingorani, Aroon D; Hemingway, Harry (Public Library of Science, 2011-05-31)
      Low haemoglobin concentration has been associated with adverse prognosis in patients with angina and myocardial infarction (MI), but the strength and shape of the association and the presence of any threshold has not been precisely evaluated. A retrospective cohort study was carried out using the UK General Practice Research Database. 20,131 people with a new diagnosis of stable angina and no previous acute coronary syndrome, and 14,171 people with first MI who survived for at least 7 days were followed up for a mean of 3.2 years. Using semi-parametric Cox regression and multiple adjustment, there was evidence of threshold haemoglobin values below which mortality increased in a graded continuous fashion. For men with MI, the threshold value was 13.5 g/dl (95% confidence interval [CI] 13.2-13.9); the 29.5% of patients with haemoglobin below this threshold had an associated hazard ratio for mortality of 2.00 (95% CI 1.76-2.29) compared to those with haemoglobin values in the lowest risk range. Women tended to have lower threshold haemoglobin values (e.g, for MI 12.8 g/dl; 95% CI 12.1-13.5) but the shape and strength of association did not differ between the genders, nor between patients with angina and MI. We did a systematic review and meta-analysis that identified ten previously published studies, reporting a total of only 1,127 endpoints, but none evaluated thresholds of risk. There is an association between low haemoglobin concentration and increased mortality. A large proportion of patients with coronary disease have haemoglobin concentrations below the thresholds of risk defined here. Intervention trials would clarify whether increasing the haemoglobin concentration reduces mortality.