Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Whole-body CT screening costs overshadow benefits

25.01.2005


Whole-body computed tomography (CT) is not a cost-effective screening method, according to a study published in the February issue of the journal Radiology.



The use of whole-body CT as a screening tool for cancer and other diseases is the focus of an ongoing debate. Proponents of whole-body CT emphasize the potential benefit of early detection of disease, but others caution that the costs, false-positive findings and unnecessary radiation might render the procedure more harmful than beneficial. "Our findings show that the average person should think twice before having a whole-body CT examination," said study author, G. Scott Gazelle, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Technology Assessment and associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "When money is wasted on ineffective interventions, it drives up the cost and decreases the availability of other necessary healthcare interventions," he said.

The researchers evaluated the cost-effectiveness of a single whole-body CT screening examination, which they believe to be the most representative use of whole-body CT. They estimated the cost to be $900 in 2001 dollars, based on advertised prices at the time.


By using software to create an analytic model, the team calculated the monetary costs versus any increase in life expectancy that resulted from CT screening in a hypothetical, self-referred cohort of 500,000 asymptomatic 50-year-old males. They evaluated eight conditions and anatomic regions commonly associated with whole-body CT screening. Disease rates were based on 1973–1996 data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program.

The findings indicate that whole-body CT screening exams provide only minimal gains in life expectancy (approximately six days) at an average cost of $2,513 per patient, or an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $151,000 per life-year gained (relative to survival with no screening), making the procedure more expensive in cost per life-year gained than the majority of other healthcare interventions currently funded in the United States.

The study also found that for every 1,000 patients screened, an average of 908 would have at least one false-positive test result, requiring further testing. Health insurance would be responsible for the costs of most follow-up tests and treatments prompted by the CT examination, which could lead to increased healthcare costs across the board.

The researchers maintain that serious consideration should be given to the costs and benefits of this technology before it is more widely used, as sufficient clinical data are not currently available to provide a definitive answer regarding whole-body CT screening, and the analytic model holds some limitations. "Models are by definition a simplification of reality," Dr. Gazelle said. "The real test of a model is to compare the findings with actual clinical data. Currently, there is a paucity of data regarding the effectiveness of whole-body CT."

Dr. Gazelle believes that this type of screening is not appropriate in people with an average risk of disease. "Tests have downstream consequences," he said. "At this time, whole-body CT screening just doesn’t appear to be a good use of healthcare funding."

Maureen Morley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rsna.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>