Background Several approaches have been proposed for risk-stratification and primary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD), but their comparative and cost-effectiveness is unknown. Methods We constructed a state-transition microsimulation model to compare multiple approaches to the primary prevention of CHD in a simulated cohort of men aged 45-75 and women 55-75. Risk-stratification strategies included the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines on the treatment of blood cholesterol, the Adult Treatment Panel (ATP) III guidelines, and approaches based on coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring and C-reactive protein (CRP). Additionally we assessed a treat-all strategy in which all individuals were prescribed either moderate-dose or high-dose statins and all males received low-dose aspirin. Outcome measures included CHD events, costs, medication-related side effects, radiation-attributable cancers, and quality-adjusted-life-years (QALYs) over a 30-year timeframe. Results Treat-all with high-dose statins dominated all other strategies for both men and women, gaining 15.7 million QALYs, preventing 7.3 million myocardial infarctions, and saving over $238 billion, compared to the status quo, far outweighing its associated adverse events including bleeding, hepatitis, myopathy, and new-onset diabetes. ACC/AHA guidelines were more cost-effective than ATP III guidelines for both men and women despite placing 8.7 million more people on statins. For women at low CHD risk, treat-all with high-dose statins was more likely to cause a statin-related adverse event than to prevent a CHD event. Conclusions Despite leading to a greater proportion of the population placed on statin therapy, the ACC/AHA guidelines are more cost-effective than ATP III. Even so, at generic prices, treating all men and women with statins and all men with low-dose aspirin appears to be more cost-effective than all risk-stratification approaches for the primary prevention of CHD. Especially for low-CHD risk women, decisions on the appropriate primary prevention strategy should be based on shared decision making between patients and healthcare providers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)