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Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2005 Summer;21(3):334-41.

Cost-effectiveness of pressure-relieving devices for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers.

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  • 1The MEDTAP Institute, UBC, USA.



The cost-effectiveness of alternating pressure-relieving devices, mattress replacements, and mattress overlays compared with a standard hospital (high-specification foam mattress) for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers in hospital patients in the United Kingdom was investigated.


A decision-analytic model was constructed to evaluate different strategies to prevent or treat pressure ulcers. Three scenarios were evaluated: the prevention of pressure ulcers, the treatment of superficial ulcers, and the treatment of severe ulcers. Epidemiological and effectiveness data were obtained from the clinical literature. Expert opinion using a rating scale technique was used to obtain quality of life data. Costs of the devices were obtained from manufacturers, whereas costs of treatment were obtained from the literature. Uncertainty was explored through probabilistic sensitivity analysis.


Using 30,000 pounds sterling/QALY (quality-adjusted life year) as the decision-maker's cut off point (the current UK standard), in scenario 1 (prevention), the cost-effective strategy was the mattress overlay at 1, 4, and 12 weeks. In scenarios 2 and 3, the cost-effective strategy was the mattress replacement at 1, 4, and 12 weeks. Standard care was a dominated intervention in all scenarios for values of the decision-maker's ceiling ratio ranging from 5,000 pounds sterling to 100,000 pounds sterling/QALY. However, the probabilistic sensitivity analysis results reflected the high uncertainty surrounding the choice of devices.


Current information suggests that alternating pressure mattress overlays may be cost-effective for the prevention of pressure ulcers, whereas alternating pressure mattress replacements appears to be cost-effective for the treatment of superficial and severe pressure ulcers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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