Cost-effectiveness of testing for hypercoagulability and effects on treatment strategies in patients with deep vein thrombosis

Journal Article

Purpose Among patients with deep vein thrombosis, hypercoagulable conditions impart a substantial risk of recurrent thrombosis. We sought to determine the cost-effectiveness of testing for these disorders, as well as which tests should be selected and how results should be used. Methods Using a Markov state-transition model, strategies of testing or not testing for a hypercoagulable state followed by anticoagulation for 6 to 36 months were compared in a hypothetical cohort of patients with apparently idiopathic deep vein thrombosis who were followed for life. Strategies were compared based on lifetime costs, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and marginal cost-effectiveness. Results In the base case, testing followed by 24 months of anticoagulation in patients with a hypercoagulable condition was more cost-effective ($54,820; 23.76 QALYs) than usual care, which comprised 6 months of anticoagulation without testing ($55,260; 23.72 QALYs). All hypercoagulable conditions tested were common enough and associated with a sufficient risk of recurrence to justify inclusion in a test panel. Twenty-four months of initial anticoagulation was preferred (<$50,000/QALY) for most conditions, whereas lifetime anticoagulation was preferred for patients with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome ($2928/QALY) or homozygous factor V Leiden mutation ($3804/QALY). Models using newer evidence on recurrence suggested 18 to 36 months of anticoagulation without testing as the preferred approach. CONCLUSION: Testing for hypercoagulable disorders in patients with idiopathic deep vein thrombosis followed by 2 years of anticoagulation in affected patients is cost-effective. A simpler approach of treating all patients with prolonged anticoagulation without testing is justified if data confirm the persistent risk of recurrent thrombosis. © 2004 by Excerpta Medica Inc.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Auerbach, AD; Sanders, GD; Hambleton, J

Published Date

  • 2004

Published In

  • American Journal of Medicine

Volume / Issue

  • 116 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 816 - 828

PubMed ID

  • 15178497

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.amjmed.2004.01.017