Why do patients with inflammatory arthritis often score states "worse than death" on the EQ-5D? An investigation of the EQ-5D classification system

Mark J. Harrison, Linda M. Davies, Nick J. Bansback, Melanie J. McCoy, Tracey M. Farragher, Suzanne M M Verstappen, Andrew Hassell, Deborah P M Symmons

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective: Using inflammatory arthritis patients as an example, we investigate EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D) profiles resulting in states worse than death (WTD), and the heath status of patients occupying these states. Methods: Baseline data from two UK trials were used that reflected the range of arthritis states/severity found in routine practice. EQ-5D profiles resulting in negative valuations (i.e., states WTD) based on UK weights were identified. EQ-5D scores for these profiles from alternative valuation sets, including a reanalysis of the UK weights, were compared. The health status and characteristics of patients, and factors associated with patients in the low distribution of the EQ-5D and those with WTD EQ-5D scores were identified. Results: Seven hundred patients were included in the analysis. Sixty-two (9%) patients occupied states WTD. Patients occupied 9 of the possible 84health profiles with negative scores (53% occupied one profile); this profile was not rated WTD by any of the alternative EQ-5D scoring algorithms. All WTD profiles included severe pain/discomfort plus moderate problems in ≥3 other domains. Patients with WTD valuations reported higher levels of pain, and feeling downhearted and low on alternative health status measures. Conclusions: Pain was the predominant factor in the WTD EQ-5D profiles occupied by arthritis patients. Patients occupying states WTD have poorer health-related quality of life than patients in low "better than death" states. Valuations of profiles vary according to how sets of preference weights for health profiles were developed. Further research should explore whether WTD valuations are supported by qualitative evidence and reflect the patient's health and experience of disease. © 2009, International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1026-1034
    Number of pages8
    JournalValue in Health
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


    • Arthritis
    • EQ-5D
    • Health-related quality of life
    • Health-state utility
    • Quality-adjusted life-years


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