Cost-effectiveness and Return on Investment of a Nationwide Case-Finding Program for Familial Hypercholesterolemia in Children in the Netherlands

Zanfina Ademi, Richard Norman, Jing Pang, Eric Sijbrands, Gerald F. Watts, Barbara A. Hutten, Albert Wiegman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Importance The Netherlands is one of the few countries that has a long-term history of active screening for familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), enabling health-economic analyses.

Objective To investigate cost-effectiveness and the return on investment (ROI) of a nationwide cascade case-finding and preventive treatment program starting with identification of FH in children and treatment, from both a societal and health care perspective.

Design, Setting, and Participants Cascade case-finding and early preventive treatment were modeled to simulate the progression of disease and costs of 10-year-olds suspected of having heterozygous FH over a lifetime. The model consisted of 3 health states: alive without coronary heart disease (CHD), alive with CHD, and deceased. Mendelian randomization analysis was used to quantify the risk of a first CHD event as a function of age and total lifetime exposure to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Cost-effectiveness was defined as €20 000 ($21 800) per QALYs (quality-adjusted life-years) gained, using incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). All future benefits and costs were discounted annually by 1.5% and 4%, respectively.

Interventions The study compared 2 strategies: (1) cascade screening and initiation of treatment with statins in children (mean age, 10 years) and (2) no screening, later detection, and treatment.

Main Outcomes and Measures Outcome of interest included cost, detection, and successful treatment of FH in terms of life-years gained and QALYs. The clinical and cost outputs for each model in the 2 scenarios (early detection and treatment and later detection and treatment) were totaled to determine the overall cost-effectiveness and ROI attributed to implementation of the Dutch FH program.

Results In this model constructed to simulate the progression of FH in 1000 hypothetical 10-year-olds, from a health care perspective, the program would gain 2.53 QALYs per person, at an additional cost of €23 365 ($25 468) (both discounted). These equated to an ICER of €9220 ($10 050) per QALY gained. From the societal perspective, the detection and treatment program were cost saving over a lifetime compared with no cascade screening for FH. The ROI for the detection and treatment program for FH in children was €8.37 ($9.12).

Conclusions and Relevance The findings of this study suggest that the early detection and treatment program for FH in children may offer a good value for investment, being both health and cost saving. The findings and interpretations are conditional on assumptions inherent in the health economic model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-632
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA Pediatrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2023


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