Cost-Effectiveness of Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring in People With a Family History of Coronary Disease

Prasanna Venkataraman, Hiroshi Kawakami, Quan Huynh, Geoffrey Mitchell, Stephen J. Nicholls, Tony Stanton, Andrew Tonkin, Gerald F. Watts, Thomas H. Marwick, on behalf of the CAUGHT-CAD Investigators

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Background: The use of coronary artery calcium scoring (CAC) to guide primary prevention statin therapy in those with a family history of premature coronary artery disease (FHCAD) is inconsistently recommended in guidelines, and usually not reimbursed by insurance. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of CAC compared with traditional risk factor–based prediction alone in those with an FHCAD. 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. Conclusion: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • coronary artery calcium score
  • primary prevention
  • risk prediction
  • statins

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