Cost-Effectiveness of Universal and Risk-Based Screening for Autoimmune Thyroid Disease in Pregnant Women
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Objective: The objective of the study was to compare the cost-effectiveness of universal screening of pregnant women for autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) with screening only high-risk women and with no screening. Design, Setting, and Participants: A decision-analytic model compared the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained among the following: 1) universal screening, 2) high-risk screening, and 3) no screening. Screening consisted of a first-trimester thyroid-stimulating hormone level and antithyroid peroxidase antibodies. Women with abnormal results underwent further testing and, when indicated, levothyroxine therapy. Randomized controlled trials provided probabilities for adverse obstetrical outcomes. The model accounted for the development of postpartum thyroiditis and overt hypothyroidism. Additional scenarios in which therapy prevented cases of decreased child intelligence quotient were explored. Main Outcome Measures: Medical consequences of AITD in pregnancy, QALY, and costs were measured. Results: Risk-based screening and universal screening were both cost-effective relative to no screening, with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) of $6,753/QALY and $7,138/QALY, respectively. Universal screening was cost-effective compared with risk-based screening, with an ICER of $7,258/QALY. Screening remained cost-effective in various clinical scenarios, including when only overt hypothyroidism was assumed to have adverse obstetrical outcomes. Universal screening was cost-saving in the scenario of untreated maternal hypothyroidism resulting in decreased child intelligence, with levothyroxine therapy being preventive. Conclusions: Universal screening of pregnant women in the first trimester for AITD is cost-effective, not only compared with no screening but also compared with screening of high-risk women.