Use of removable support boot versus cast for early mobilisation after ankle fracture surgery: cost-effectiveness analysis and qualitative findings of the Ankle Recovery Trial (ART)

Petra Baji*, Estela C Barbosa, Vanessa Heaslip, Bob Sangar, Lee Tbaily, Rachel Martin, Sharon Docherty, Helen Allen, Christopher Hayward, Elsa M R Marques

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of using a removable boot versus a cast following ankle fracture from the National Health Service and Personal Social Services (NHS+PSS) payer and societal perspectives and explore the impact of both treatments on participants' activities of daily living.

DESIGN: Cost-effectiveness analyses and qualitative interviews performed alongside a pragmatic multicentre randomised controlled trial.

SETTING: Eight UK NHS secondary care trusts.

PARTICIPANTS: 243 participants (60.5% female, on average 48.2 years of age (SD 16.4)) with ankle fracture. Qualitative interviews with 16 participants. Interventions removable air boot versus plaster cast 2 weeks after surgery weight bearing as able with group-specific exercises.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) estimated from the EQ-5D-5L questionnaire, costs and incremental net monetary benefit statistics measured 12 weeks after surgery, for a society willing-to-pay £20 000 per QALY.

RESULTS: Care in the boot group cost, on average, £88 (95% CI £22 to £155) per patient more than in the plaster group from the NHS+PSS perspective. When including all societal costs, the boot saved, on average, £676 per patient (95% CI -£337 to £1689). Although there was no evidence of a QALY difference between the groups (-0.0020 (95% CI -0.0067 to 0.0026)), the qualitative findings suggest participants felt the boot enhanced their quality of life. Patients in the boot felt more independent and empowered to take on family responsibilities and social activities.

CONCLUSIONS: While the removable boot is slightly more expensive than plaster cast for the NHS+PSS payer at 12 weeks after surgery, it reduces productivity losses and the need for informal care while empowering patients. Given that differences in QALYs and costs to the NHS are small, the decision to use a boot or plaster following ankle surgery could be left to patients' and clinicians' preferences.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN15497399, South Central-Hampshire A Research Ethics Committee (reference 14/SC/1409).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere073542
Pages (from-to)e073542
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Volume14
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.

Structured keywords

  • HEHP@Bristol

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