Objective: Xpert MTB/RIF (‘Xpert’) and urinary lateral-flow lipoarabinomannan (LF-LAM) assays offer rapid tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis. This study evaluated the cost-effectiveness of novel diagnostic algorithms utilizing combinations of Xpert and LF-LAM for the detection of active TB among people living with HIV.
Design: Cost-effectiveness analysis using data from a comparative study of LF-LAM and Xpert, with a target population of HIV-infected individuals with signs/symptoms of TB in Uganda.
Methods: A decision-analysis model compared multiple strategies for rapid TB diagnosis:sputum smear-microscopy; sputum Xpert; smear-microscopy combined with LF-LAM; and Xpert combined with LF-LAM. Primary outcomes were the costs and DALY's averted for each algorithm. Cost-effectiveness was represented using incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER).
Results: Compared with an algorithm of Xpert testing alone, the combination of Xpert with LF-LAM was considered highly cost-effective (ICER $57/DALY-averted) at a willingness to pay threshold of Ugandan GDP per capita. Addition of urine LF-LAM testing to smear-microscopy was a less effective strategy than Xpert replacement of smear-microscopy, but was less costly and also considered highly cost-effective (ICER $33 per DALY-averted) compared with continued usage of smear-microscopy alone. Cost-effectiveness of the Xpert plus LF-LAM algorithm was most influenced by HIV/ART costs and life-expectancy of patients after TB treatment.
Conclusion: The addition of urinary LF-LAM to TB diagnostic algorithms for HIV-infected individuals is highly cost-effective compared with usage of either sputum smear-microscopy or Xpert alone.