Added value of bleach sedimentation microscopy for diagnosis of tuberculosis: a cost-effectiveness study.
Bonnet M., Tajahmady A., Hepple P., Ramsay A., Githui W., Gagdnidze L., Guérin PJ., Varaine F.
SETTING: Bleach sedimentation is a method used to increase the diagnostic yield of sputum microscopy for countries with a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and limited resources. OBJECTIVES: To compare the relative cost-effectiveness of different microscopy approaches in diagnosing tuberculosis (TB) in Kenya. METHODS: An analytical decision tree model including cost and effectiveness measures of 10 combinations of direct (D) and overnight bleach (B) sedimentation microscopy was constructed. Data were drawn from the evaluation of the bleach sedimentation method on two specimens (first on the spot  and second morning ) from 644 TB suspects in a peripheral health clinic. Incremental cost per smear-positive detected case was measured. Costs included human resources and materials using a micro-costing evaluation. RESULTS: All bleach-based microscopy approaches detected significantly more cases (between 23.3% for B1 and 25.9% for B1+B2) than the conventional D1+D2 approach (21.0%). Cost per tested case ranged between respectively euro 2.7 and euro 4.5 for B1 and B1+D2+B2. B1 and B1+B2 were the most cost-effective approaches. D1+B2 and D1+B1 were good alternatives to avoid using approaches exclusively based on bleach sedimentation microscopy. CONCLUSIONS: Among several effective microscopy approaches used, including sodium hypochlorite sedimentation, only some resulted in a limited increase in the laboratory workload and would be most suitable for programmatic implementation.