Urge Incontinence: Quality of Life and Patients' Valuation of Symptom Reduction
Richard M. O'Conor
Steven L. Hass
Objective: Previous studies have demonstrated the effect of incontinence, and urge incontinence in particular, on patients' quality of life. This study assessed the effects of urge incontinence on quality of life and measured the value of a reduction in symptoms. Design: A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to 591 patients with urge or mixed incontinence. 495 (83.8%) surveys were returned with complete quality of life and symptom data. Of the total sample, 411 patients received the willingness-to-pay (WTP) survey, from which 257 (62.53%) returns were judged complete and reliable. Information was collected about the number of micturitions and urinary leakages. Health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) was measured using the Short Form 36 (SF-36) Health Survey. Socioeconomic characteristics were also recorded. Value was assessed with a binary WTP question. Main outcome measures and results: Quality of life among the sample population was significantly lower in 5 of 8 dimensions compared with the general US population, and was significantly related to the severity of the symptoms in 6 of 8 dimensions. The median (mean) willingness to pay was $US27.24 ($US87.74) per month for a 25% reduction in micturitions and leakages, and $US75.92 ($US244.54) per month for a 50% reduction in micturitions and leakages. As expected, the willingness to pay was significantly related to the size of the reduction in micturitions and leakages, and household income. Conclusions: Patients with incontinence perceive substantial benefits from a reduction in the number of micturitions and leakages.
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