Routine Echocardiography Screening for Asymptomatic Left Ventricular Dysfunction in Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Model-Based Estimation of the Clinical and Economic Effects

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Childhood cancer survivors treated with cardiotoxic therapies are recommended to have routine cardiac assessment every 1 to 5 years, but the long-term benefits are uncertain.


To estimate the cost-effectiveness of routine cardiac assessment to detect asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction and of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and β-blocker treatment to reduce congestive heart failure (CHF) incidence in childhood cancer survivors.


Simulation model.

Data Sources:

Literature, including data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

Target Population:

Childhood cancer survivors.

Time Horizon:





Interval-based echocardiography assessment every 1, 2, 5, or 10 years, with subsequent angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or β-blocker treatment for patients with positive test results.

Outcome Measures:

Lifetime risk for systolic CHF, lifetime costs, quality-adjusted life expectancy, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs).

Results of Base-Case Analysis:

The lifetime risk for systolic CHF among 5-year childhood cancer survivors aged 15 years was 18.8% without routine cardiac assessment (average age at onset, 58.8 years). Routine echocardiography reduced lifetime risk for CHF by 2.3% (with assessment every 10 years) to 8.7% (annual assessment). The ICER for assessment every 10 years was $111 600 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) compared with no assessment. Assessment every 5 years had an ICER of $117 900 per QALY, and ICERs for more frequent assessment exceeded $165 000 per QALY.

Results of Sensitivity Analysis:

Results were sensitive to treatment effectiveness, absolute excess risk for CHF, and asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction asymptomatic period. The probability that assessment every 10 or 5 years was preferred at a $100 000-per-QALY threshold was 0.33 for the overall cohort.


Treatment effectiveness was based on adult data.


Current recommendations for cardiac assessment may reduce CHF incidence, but less frequent assessment may be preferable.

Primary Funding Source:

National Cancer Institute.

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