Cost-effectiveness of dedicated dietitians for hyperphosphatemia management among hemodialysis patients in Lebanon: results from the Nutrition Education for Management of Osteodystrophy trial

Rana Rizk*, Mickael Hiligsmann, Mirey Karavetian, Silvia M. A. A. Evers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Aim: To assess the cost-effectiveness of nutrition education by dedicated dietitians (DD) for hyperphosphatemia management among hemodialysis patients.

Materials and methods: This was a trial-based economic evaluation in 12 Lebanese hospital-based units. In total, 545 prevalent patients were cluster randomized to DD, trained hospital dietitian (THD), and existing practice (EP) groups. During Phase I (6 months), DD (n=116) received intensive education by DD trained on renal nutrition, THD (n=299) received care from trained hospital dietitians, and EP (n=130) received usual care from untrained hospital dietitians. Patients were followed-up during Phase II (6 months).

Results: At baseline, EP had the lowest weekly hemodialysis time, and DD had the highest serum phosphorus and malnutrition-inflammation score. The additional costs of the intervention were low compared with the societal costs (DD: $76.7, $21,007.7; EP: $4.6, $18,675.4; THD: $17.4, $20,078.6, respectively). Between Phases I and II, DD showed the greatest decline in services use and societal costs (DD: -$2,364.0; EP: -$1,727.7; THD: -$1,105.7). At endline, DD experienced the highest decrease in adjusted serum phosphorus (DD: -0.32; EP: +0.16; THD: +0.04mg/dL), no difference in quality-adjusted life-years (QALY), and the highest societal costs. DD had a cost-effectiveness ratio of $7,853.6 per 1mg decrease in phosphorus, compared with EP; and was dominated by THD. Regarding QALY, DD was dominated by EP and THD. The results were sensitive to changes in key parameters.

Limitations: The analysis depended on numerous assumptions. Interpreting the results is limited by the significant baseline differences in key parameters, suggestive of higher baseline societal costs in DD.

Conclusions: DD yielded the greatest effectiveness and decrease in societal costs, but did not affect QALY. Regarding serum phosphorus, DD was likely to be cost-effective compared with EP, but had a low cost-effectiveness probability compared with THD. Regarding QALY, DD was not likely to be cost-effective. Assessing the long-term cost-effectiveness of DD, on similar groups, is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1038
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Medical Economics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Dietitians
  • Patient education
  • Hyperphosphatemia
  • Hemodialysis

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