Analysis of cost effectiveness of screening Danish men aged 65 for abdominal aortic aneurysm

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the cost effectiveness of screening men aged 65 for abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Design

Cost effectiveness analysis based on a probabilistic, enhanced economic decision analytical model from screening to death.

Population and setting

Hypothetical population of men aged 65 invited (or not invited) for ultrasound screening in the Danish healthcare system.

Data sources

Published results from randomised trials and observational epidemiological studies retrieved from electronic bibliographic databases, and supplementary data obtained from the Danish Vascular Registry.

Data synthesis

A hybrid decision tree and Markov model was developed to simulate the short term and long term effects of screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm compared with no systematic screening on clinical and cost effectiveness outcomes. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses using Monte Carlo simulation were carried out. Results were presented in a cost effectiveness acceptability curve, an expected value of perfect information curve, and a curve showing the expected (net) number of avoided deaths from abdominal aortic aneurysm over time after the introduction of screening. The model was validated by calibrating base case health outcomes and expected activity levels against evidence from the recent Cochrane review of screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Results

The estimated costs per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained discounted at 3% per year over a lifetime for costs and QALYs was £43 485 (€54 852; $71 160). At a willingness to pay threshold of £30 000 the probability of screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm being cost effective was less than 30%. One way sensitivity analyses showed the incremental cost effectiveness ratio varying from £32 640 to £66 001 per QALY.

Conclusion

Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm does not seem to be cost effective. Further research is needed on long term quality of life outcomes and costs.

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