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Cost-effectiveness of quantitative ultrasound as a technique for screening of osteoporotic fracture risk: report on a health technology assessment conducted in 2001

Author(s): Aidelsburger, Pamela | Hessel, Franz | Wasem, Jürgen

Journal: GMS German Medical Science
ISSN 1612-3174

Volume: 2;
Start page: Doc03;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Aim: On behalf of the German Agency for Health Technology Assessment (DAHTA@DIMDI) a rapid economic HTA was conducted. Aim of the HTA was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of quantitative ultrasound (QUS) for screening of osteoporotic fracture risk. Study population was formed by postmenopausal women. QUS was compared to the dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) as the most frequently used method of measurement. Methods: According to the recommendations for rapid economic HTA a comprehensive literature search was conducted. Data of identified and relevant publications have been extracted in form of a qualitative and quantitative information synthesis. The authors calculated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for different screening procedures: (1) one-step proceeding comparing QUS with DXA, (2) two-step proceeding starting with QUS followed by DXA in pathologic cases. Results: An additional case diagnosed by DXA in a one-step proceeding rises additional costs of about 1,000 EURO. A two-step proceeding with QUS is cost-effective as long as the costs of one QUS examination are lower than 31%-51% of the costs of one DXA examination. Discussion: All considered studies showed methodological limitations. None of them included long term effects like avoided bone fractures. Considering long-term effects probably would change the results. Due to the weakness of data no concluding judgement about the cost-effectiveness of QUS can be given.
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