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Med Decis Making. 1999 Jul-Sep;19(3):353-63.

Probabilistic sensitivity analysis incorporating the bootstrap: an example comparing treatments for the eradication of Helicobacter pylori.

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Data Management and Analysis, Lewin-TAG, Inc., San Francisco, California 94107, USA.


Decision-analytic models are frequently used to evaluate the relative costs and benefits of alternative therapeutic strategies for health care. Various types of sensitivity analysis are used to evaluate the uncertainty inherent in the models. Although probabilistic sensitivity analysis is more difficult theoretically and computationally, the results can be much more powerful and useful than deterministic sensitivity analysis. The authors show how a Monte Carlo simulation can be implemented using standard software to perform a probabilistic sensitivity analysis incorporating the bootstrap. The method is applied to a decision-analytic model evaluating the cost-effectiveness of Helicobacter pylori eradication. The necessary steps are straightforward and are described in detail. The use of the bootstrap avoids certain difficulties encountered with theoretical distributions. The probabilistic sensitivity analysis provided insights into the decision-analytic model beyond the traditional base-case and deterministic sensitivity analyses and should become the standard method for assessing sensitivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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