To assess and compare the cost effectiveness of three different strategies for prenatal screening for Down's syndrome (integrated test, sequential screening, and contingent screenings) and to determine the most useful cut-off values for risk.
Computer simulations to study integrated, sequential, and contingent screening strategies with various cut-offs leading to 19 potential screening algorithms.
The computer simulation was populated with data from the Serum Urine and Ultrasound Screening Study (SURUSS), real unit costs for healthcare interventions, and a population of 110 948 pregnancies from the province of Québec for the year 2001.
The contingent screening strategy dominated all other screening options: it had the best cost effectiveness ratio ($C26,833 per case of Down's syndrome) with fewer procedure related euploid miscarriages and unnecessary terminations (respectively, 6 and 16 per 100,000 pregnancies). It also outperformed serum screening at the second trimester. In terms of the incremental cost effectiveness ratio, contingent screening was still dominant: compared with screening based on maternal age alone, the savings were $C30,963 per additional birth with Down's syndrome averted. Contingent screening was the only screening strategy that offered early reassurance to the majority of women (77.81%) in first trimester and minimised costs by limiting retesting during the second trimester (21.05%). For the contingent and sequential screening strategies, the choice of cut-off value for risk in the first trimester test significantly affected the cost effectiveness ratios (respectively, from $C26,833 to $C37,260 and from $C35,215 to $C45,314 per case of Down's syndrome), the number of procedure related euploid miscarriages (from 6 to 46 and from 6 to 45 per 100,000 pregnancies), and the number of unnecessary terminations (from 16 to 26 and from 16 to 25 per 100,000 pregnancies).
Contingent screening, with a first trimester cut-off value for high risk of 1 in 9, is the preferred option for prenatal screening of women for pregnancies affected by Down's syndrome.
Cites: Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2007 Winter;23(1):138-4517234028