Usefulness and Cost-Effectiveness of Universal Echocardiographic Contrast to Detect Left Ventricular Thrombus in Patients with Heart Failure and Reduced Ejection Fraction.
Contrast is a recommended but frequently unused tool in transthoracic echocardiography to improve detection of left ventricular thrombus in patients with ejection fraction (EF) ≤35%. The clinical and economic outcomes of a possible solution (i.e., universal contrast use) remain uncertain. To estimate clinical benefit, cost, and cost-effectiveness of a diagnostic strategy of universal use of contrast (vs no contrast) during echocardiography in patients with reduced EF, we created a decision analytic model using echocardiography sensitivity and specificity for left ventricular thrombus detection from a meta-analysis, as well as survival and cost estimates from published literature. Universal contrast use (vs nonuse) did not result in clinical or statistical improvement in estimated life years (8.509 vs 8.504) or quality-adjusted life years (5.620 vs 5.616). The cost of contrast was offset by reductions in subsequent health-care costs, resulting in similar total costs ($201,569 vs $201,573). In conclusion, although an intuitively attractive practice improvement strategy, universal contrast use strategy appears to offer no appreciable benefit to quality-adjusted survival or financial outcomes in patients with low EF.
Lehman, EP; Cowper, PA; Randolph, TC; Kosinski, AS; Lopes, RD; Douglas, PS
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