Cost-Effectiveness of Strategies for Diagnosing Pulmonary Embolism Among Emergency Department Patients Presenting With Undifferentiated Symptoms
ANNALS OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE
2010; 56 (4): 321-332
Value of quantitative D-dimer assays in identifying pulmonary embolism: Implications from a sequential decision model
ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE
2006; 13 (7): 755-766
Symptoms associated with pulmonary embolism can be nonspecific and similar to many competing diagnoses, leading to excessive costly testing and treatment, as well as missed diagnoses. Objective studies are essential for diagnosis. This study evaluates the cost-effectiveness of different diagnostic strategies in an emergency department (ED) for patients presenting with undifferentiated symptoms suggestive of pulmonary embolism.Using a probabilistic decision model, we evaluated the incremental costs and effectiveness (quality-adjusted life-years gained) of 60 testing strategies for 5 patient pretest categories (distinguished by Wells score [high, moderate, or low] and whether deep venous thrombosis is clinically suspected). We performed deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.In the base case, for all patient pretest categories, the most cost-effective diagnostic strategy is to use an initial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay D-dimer test, followed by compression ultrasonography of the lower extremities if the D-dimer is above a specified cutoff. The level of the preferred cutoff varies with the Wells pretest category and whether a deep venous thrombosis is clinically suspected. D-dimer cutoffs higher than the current recommended cutoff were often preferred for patients with even moderate and high Wells categories. Compression ultrasonography accuracy had to decrease below commonly cited levels in the literature before it was not part of a preferred strategy.When pulmonary embolism is suspected in the ED, use of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay D-dimer assay, often at cutoffs higher than those currently in use (for patients in whom deep venous thrombosis is not clinically suspected), followed by compression ultrasonography as appropriate, can reduce costs and improve outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2010.03.029
View details for Web of Science ID 000282854500004
View details for PubMedID 20605261
To examine the cost-effectiveness of a quantitative D-dimer assay for the evaluation of patients with suspected pulmonary embolism (PE) in an urban emergency department (ED).The authors analyzed different diagnostic strategies over pretest risk categories on the basis of Wells criteria by using the performance profile of the ELISA D-dimer assay (over five cutoff values) and imaging strategies used in the ED for PE: compression ultrasound (CUS), ventilation-perfusion (VQ) scan (over three cutoff values), CUS with VQ (over three cutoff values), computed tomography (CT) angiogram (CTA) with pulmonary portion (CTP) and lower-extremity venous portion, and CUS with CTP. Data used in the analysis were based on literature review. Incremental costs and quality-adjusted-life-years were the outcomes measured.Computed tomography angiogram with pulmonary portion and lower-extremity venous portion without D-dimer was the preferred strategy. CUS-VQ scanning always was dominated by CT-based strategies. When CTA was infeasible, the dominant strategy was D-dimer with CUS-VQ in moderate- and high-Wells patients and was D-dimer with CUS for low-Wells patients. When CTP specificity falls below 80%, or if its overall performance is markedly degraded, preferred strategies include D-dimer testing. Sensitivity analyses suggest that pessimistic assessments of CTP accuracy alter the results only at extremes of parameter settings.In patients in whom PE is suspected, when CTA is available, even the most sensitive quantitative D-dimer assay is not likely to be cost-effective. When CTA is not available or if its performance is markedly degraded, use of the D-dimer assay has value in combination with CUS and a pulmonary imaging study. These conclusions may not hold for the larger domain of patients presenting to the ED with chest pain or shortness of breath in whom PE is one of many competing diagnoses.
View details for DOI 10.1197/j.aem.2006.02.011
View details for Web of Science ID 000239051800008
View details for PubMedID 16723725