This study measured how myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) patients value transfusion independence (TI), reduced transfusions (RT) and transfusion-dependence (TD) using health utility assessment methodology.
47 MDS patients were interviewed, US (n = 8), France (n = 9), Germany (n = 9) and the UK (n = 21), to elicit the utility value of TI, RT and TD. Health states were developed based on literature; patient forum discussions; and were validated by a hematologist. Face-to-face interviews used the feeling thermometer Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and the Time Trade-Off (TTO) method to value the health states on a 0 (dead) to 1 (perfect health) scale. Socio-demographic, clinical, and quality-of-life (EQ-5D) characteristics were surveyed to describe the patient sample.
Results and Discussion
The mean age was 67 years (range: 29-83); 45% male, 70% retired; 40% had secondary/high school education, or higher (32%), and 79% lived with family, a partner or spouse, or friends. The mean time from MDS diagnosis was 5 years (range:1-23). Most patients (87%) received previous transfusions and 49% had received a transfusion in the last 3 months. Mean EQ-5D index score was 0.78; patients reported at least some problem with mobility (45%), usual activities (40%), pain/discomfort (47%), and anxiety/depression (34%). Few patients had difficulty understanding the VAS (n = 3) and TTO (n = 4) exercises. Utility scores for TI were higher than for RT (0.84 vs. 0.77; p < 0.001) or TD (0.84 vs. 0.60; p < 0.001). Three patients rated TD worse than dead. Corresponding VAS scale scores were 78 vs. 56; (p < 0.001), and 78 vs. 31 (p < 0.001), respectively.
Patients value TI, suggesting an important role for new treatments aiming to achieve greater TI in MDS. These results can be used in preference-based health economic evaluation of new MDS treatments, such as in future cost-utility studies.