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Virtual Touch™ Quantification to Diagnose and Monitor Liver Fibrosis in Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C: A NICE Medical Technology Guidance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-154
Number of pages16
JournalApplied health economics and health policy
Issue number2
Early online date7 Sep 2016
Accepted/In press16 Aug 2016
E-pub ahead of print7 Sep 2016
PublishedApr 2017


King's Authors


Virtual Touch™ Quantification (VTq) is a software application used with Siemens Acuson ultrasound scanners to assess the stiffness of liver tissue. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Medical Technologies Advisory Committee (MTAC) selected VTq for evaluation and invited the company to submit clinical and economic evidence. King's Technology Evaluation Centre, an External Assessment Centre (EAC) commissioned by NICE, independently assessed the evidence submitted. The EAC conducted its own systematic review, meta-analysis and economic analysis to supplement the company's submitted evidence. The meta-analyses comparing VTq and transient elastography (TE) with liver biopsy (LB) provided pooled estimates of liver stiffness and stage of fibrosis for the study populations (hepatitis B, hepatitis C or combined populations). When comparing significant fibrosis (Metavir score F ≥ 2) for both hepatitis B and C, VTq had slightly higher values for both sensitivity and specificity (77 and 81 %) than TE (76 and 71 %). The overall prevalence of cirrhosis (F4, combined populations) was similar with VTq and TE (23 vs. 23 %), and significant fibrosis (F ≥ 2) was lower for VTq than for TE (55 vs. 62 %). The EAC revised the company's de novo cost model, which resulted in a cost saving of £53 (against TE) and £434 (against LB). Following public consultation, taking into account submitted comments, NICE Medical Technology Guidance MTG27 was published in September 2015. This recommended the adoption of the VTq software to diagnose and monitor liver fibrosis in patients with hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

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