An evaluation of the potential cost-effectiveness of non-invasive testing strategies in the diagnosis of significant liver fibrosis.

Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology

Carlson JJ, Kowdley KV, Sullivan SD, Ramsey SD, Veenstra DL

2009 J. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. Volume 24 Issue 5

PubMed 19457153 DOI 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2009.05778.x

FibroTest Cost-Effectiveness Independant Team vs. Elastography vs. Biomarkers HCV Fibrosis


To assess the clinical and economic outcomes of non-invasive testing strategies in the diagnosis of significant liver fibrosis (Metavir score >or= 2) compared with liver biopsy.


We developed a decision analytic model of non-invasive testing strategies in a hypothetical patient population with genotype 1 hepatitis C virus infection, with no contraindications to liver biopsy. The testing strategies included a testing algorithm using the Fibrosure test, a non-invasive measure of fibrosis, followed by liver biopsy for patients with indeterminate results, Fibrospect II, and Fibroscan. The primary outcomes were sensitivity, specificity, diagnostic accuracy (true positive + true negatives/total patients), and costs, evaluated from the health-care payer perspective.


The testing algorithm using Fibrosure was the most accurate non-invasive strategy with a sensitivity, specificity, and overall accuracy of 84%, 87%, and 86%, respectively. In comparison with liver biopsy alone, there was a cost savings of approximately $770/person with the Fibrosure testing algorithm, but a net decrease in accuracy of 14%. Fibrospect II and Fibroscan had poorer accuracy (decreases of 12% and 4%, respectively) and lower costs (-$138 and -$357, respectively) compared with the Fibrosure algorithm. In uncertainty analyses in which biopsy sampling error was considered, the Fibrosure algorithm remained consistently less accurate (5-14% decrease).


The results of our study suggest that compared with liver biopsy, non-invasive testing algorithms can result in short-term cost savings, but the consequences of misdiagnosis in terms of health outcomes and treatment costs might outweigh the short-term gains in cost and convenience.

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