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Cost-Effectiveness of Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring in People With a Family History of Coronary Disease – JIMG June 2021

Objectives: To assess the cost effectiveness of coronary artery calcium (CAC) compared with traditional risk factor–based prediction alone in those with an family history of premature coronary artery disease (FHCAD).

Background: The use of CAC scoring to guide primary prevention statin therapy in those with a FHCAD is inconsistently recommended in guidelines, and usually not reimbursed by insurance.

Methods: A microsimulation model was constructed in TreeAge Healthcare Pro using data from 1,083 participants in the CAUGHT-CAD (Coronary Artery Calcium Score: Use to Guide Management of HerediTary Coronary Artery Disease) trial. Outcomes assessed were quality-adjusted life years (QALYs): cost-effectiveness was assessed over a 15-year time horizon from the perspective of the US health care sector using real-world statin prescribing, accounting for the effect of knowledge of subclinical disease on adherence to guideline-directed therapies. Costs were assessed in 2020 USD, with discounting undertaken at 3%.

Results: Statins were indicated in 45% of the cohort using the CAC strategy and 27% using American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (2019) treatment strategies. Compared with applying a statin treatment threshold of 7.5%, the CAC strategy was more costly ($145) and more effective (0.0097 QALY) with an incremental cost-effective ratio (ICER) of $15,014/QALY. CAC ICER was driven by CAC acquisition and statin prescription cost and improved with certain patient subgroups: male, age >60 years, and 10-year risk pooled cohort equation risk ≥7.5%. CAC scanning of low-risk patients (10-year risk <5%) or those 40 to 50 years of age was not cost-effective.

Conclusions: Systematic CAC screening and treatment of those with FHCAD and subclinical disease was more cost-effective than management using statin treatment thresholds, in the US health care system.


Y.S. Chandrashekhar, MD, DM, FACC

CME Editor
Ragavendra R. Baliga, MD

Prasanna Venkataraman, MB, BS
Thomas H. Marwick, MBBS, PHD, MPH

Important Dates

Date of Release: June 8, 2021
Term of Approval/Date of CME/MOC/ECME Expiration: June 7, 2022

Availability: On-Demand
Expires on Jun 07, 2022
Cost: FREE
Credit Offered:
1 CME Credit
1 ABIM-MOC Point
1 ECME Credit
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