Cost-Effectiveness of a Specialized Breathlessness Service Versus Usual Care for Patients With Advanced Diseases

Published:September 28, 2022DOI:



      The Munich Breathlessness Service (MBS) significantly improved control of breathlessness measured by the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ) Mastery in a randomized controlled fast track trial with waitlist group design spanning 8 weeks in Germany. This study aimed to assess the within-trial cost-effectiveness of MBS from a societal perspective.


      Data included generic (5-level version of EQ-5D) health-related quality of life and disease-specific CRQ Mastery. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were calculated based on 5-level version of EQ-5D utilities valued with German time trade-off. Direct medical costs and productivity loss were calculated based on standardized unit costs. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) and cost-effectiveness–acceptance curves were calculated using adjusted mean differences (AMD) in costs (gamma-distributed model) and both effect parameters (Gaussian-distributed model) and performing 1000 simultaneous bootstrap replications. Potential gender differences were investigated in stratified analyses.


      Between March 2014 and April 2019, 183 eligible patients were enrolled. MBS intervention demonstrated significantly better effects regarding generic (AMD of QALY gains of 0.004, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.0003 to 0.008) and disease-specific health-related quality of life at nonsignificantly higher costs (AMD of €605 [95% CI −1109 to 2550]). At the end of the intervention, the ICER was €152 433/QALY (95% CI −453 545 to 1 625 903) and €1548/CRQ Mastery point (95% CI −3093 to 10 168). Intervention costs were on average €357 (SD = 132). Gender-specific analyses displayed dominance for MBS in males and higher effects coupled with significantly higher costs in females.


      Our results show a high ICER for MBS. Considering dominance for MBS in males, implementing MBS on approval within the German health care system should be considered.


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