Abstract 6234: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Demonstrates Superiority of Screening Young Athletes with 12-Lead Electrocardiogram versus History and Physical in Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a rare but frightening event among young athletes. The Italian experience demonstrates a reduction in athlete SCD by screening with history, physical, and 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG). American guideline statements have not recommended ECG for screening athletes due to perceptions of high cost and unclear effectiveness. We sought to model the cost-effectiveness (CE) of history and physical (H&P), ECG plus H&P, and no screening in US high school and college competitive athletes. A decision analysis model was used. Risks, prevalence, and test characteristics were derived from the medical literature. Costs were derived from publicly available datasets. Markov processes were used to simulate the natural histories of screened athletes. One-way sensitivity analyses and Monte Carlo simulation of all variables in the estimated ranges were performed. A societal perspective was used. Screening with an ECG plus H&P has lower overall costs and better outcomes than use of H&P alone. Compared with no screening, H&P saves 0.57 life years (LY) per 1000 athletes screened at an incremental cost of $111 per athlete, yielding a CE ratio of $195,600 per LY saved (simulation based 95% CI $116,000–514,000). ECG plus H&P when compared to no screening saves 2.7 LY per 1000 athletes at an incremental cost of $199 per athlete, for a CE ratio of $74,100 per LY saved (95% CI $46,000–158,000). Probabilistic sensitivity analysis shows that ECG plus H&P is the preferred strategy over H&P in terms of cost-effectiveness in 99.5% of simulations. ECG plus H&P is cost-effective below a threshold value of $100,000 per LY saved in 89% of simulations, while H&P is cost-effective in 1% of simulations. If the reduction in SCD risk per screening-identified, at-risk athlete is below 33%, or if more than 12% of screens are false positive, screening with ECG plus H&P is no longer cost effective. ECG plus H&P is superior to H&P for screening young athletes in our cost-effectiveness model. The incremental cost of adding an ECG, including screening, secondary testing, and subsequent treatment is under $100 per athlete screened. These data should inform the ongoing debate concerning pre-participation screening of US student-athletes.