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Whole-body CT screening costs overshadow benefits

elative 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."


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Contact: Maureen Morley
mmorley@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
25-Jan-2005


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