Electrocardiographic screening for prolonged QT interval to reduce sudden cardiac death in psychiatric patients: A cost-effectiveness analysis

Antoine Poncet, Baris Gencer, Marc Blondon, Marianne Gex-Fabry, Christophe Combescure, Dipen Shah, Peter J. Schwartz, Marie Besson, François R. Girardin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: Sudden cardiac death is a leading cause of mortality in psychiatric patients. Long QT (LQT) is common in this population and predisposes to Torsades-de-Pointes (TdP) and subsequent mortality. Objective: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of electrocardiographic screening to detect LQT in psychiatric inpatients. Design, Setting, and Participants: We built a decision analytic model based on a decision tree to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and utility of LQT screening from a health care perspective. LQT proportion parameters were derived from an in-hospital cross-sectional study. We performed experts' elicitation to estimate the risk of TdP, given extent of QT prolongation. A TdP reduction of 65% after LQT detection was based on positive drug dechallenge rate and through adequate treatment and electrolyte adjustments. The base-case model uncertainty was assessed with one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. Finally, the TdP related mortality and TdP avoidance parameters were varied in a two-way sensitivity analysis to assess their effect on the Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER). Main Outcomes and Measures: Costs, Quality Ajusted Life Year (QALY), ICER, and probability of cost effectiveness thresholds ($ 10 000, $25 000, and $50 000 per QALY). Results: In the base-case scenario, the numbers of patients needed to screen were 1128 and 2817 to avoid one TdP and one death, respectively. The ICER of systematic ECG screening was $8644 (95%CI, 3144-82 498) per QALY. The probability of cost-effectiveness was 96% at a willingness-to-pay of $50 000 for one QALY. In sensitivity analyses, results were sensitive to the case-fatality of TdP episodes and to the TdP reduction following the diagnosis of LQT. Conclusion and Relevance: In psychiatric hospitals, performing systematic ECG screening at admission help reduce the number of sudden cardiac deaths in a cost-effective fashion.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0127213
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 12 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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