Suspected acute pulmonary emboli: cost-effectiveness of chest helical computed tomography versus a standard diagnostic algorithm incorporating ventilation-perfusion scintigraphy.
ABSTRACT There is a controversy regarding the investigation of patients with suspected acute pulmonary embolism (PE).
To compare the cost-effectiveness of alternative methods of diagnosing acute PE. Chest helical computed tomography (CT) alone and in combination with venous ultrasound (US) of legs and pulmonary angiography (PA) were compared to a conventional algorithm using ventilation-perfusion (V/Q) scintigraphy supplemented in selected cases by US and PA.
A decision-analytical model was constructed to model the costs and effects of the three diagnostic strategies in a hypothetical cohort of 1000 patients each. Transition probabilities were based on published data. Life years gained by each strategy were estimated from published mortality rates. Schedule fees were used to estimate costs.
The V/Q protocol is both more expensive and more effective than CT alone resulting in 20.1 additional lives saved at a (discounted) cost of $940 per life year gained. An additional 2.5 lives can be saved if CT replaces V/Q scintigraphy in the diagnostic algorithm but at a cost of $23,905 per life year saved.
The more effective diagnostic strategies are also more expensive. In patients with suspected PE, the incremental cost-effectiveness of the V/Q based strategy over CT alone is reasonable in comparison with other health interventions. The cost-effectiveness of the supplemented CT strategy is more questionable.
- The Lancet 07/1960; 1(7138):1309-12. · 39.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The recently developed technique of spiral computed tomographic angiography (CTA) is being used for the detection of pulmonary emboli (PE), and several studies have assessed its accuracy using pulmonary angiography as the gold standard. CTA shows a high level of accuracy in the detection of pulmonary emboli in segmental or larger central vessels. The specificity is high enough to eliminate the requirement for angiography if a positive CTA result is found. The main factor limiting the sensitivity of CTA is the frequency of peripheral emboli in the vessels outside the central chest field covered by CTA. The incidence of such peripheral emboli varies in different reports from 0% to 36%, and their significance remains arguable. Interpretative criteria for V./Q.- lung scintigraphy have been refined as a result of the lessons learned from the PIOPED study. Using these modified criteria, and taking into account the prior probability of PE based on the presence or absence of clinical risk factors, treatment decisions can be reasonably made in patients in the following categories: those with normal lung scans, those with high probability scans and high prior probability of PE, and those with low probability scans and low clinical suspicion. Patients with intermediate probability or indeterminate scans, and those in whom the scan results conflict with the clinical expectation, will need further tests. Ultrasound examination of the leg veins, if positive, will select a further subgroup of patients for active treatment. Patients with a negative or inconclusive ultrasound result, who previously have been candidates for pulmonary angiography, can now go on to CTA. The advantages in specificity which CTA offers will make it an important part of the diagnostic workup for selected patients, but in view of its increased cost and high radiation dose compared with V./Q. scintigraphy, the argument that CTA should completely replace lung scintigraphy is currently unsupportable.European Journal of Nuclear Medicine 12/1996; 23(11):1547-53.
Article: Diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis.The Medical journal of Australia 12/1995; 163(10):509-10. · 2.85 Impact Factor