Minor Head Injury: CT-based Strategies for Management - A Cost-effectiveness Analysis

Marion Smits, Diederik W. J. Dippel, Paul J. Nederkoorn, Helena M. Dekker, Pieter E. Vos, Digna R. Kool, Daphne A. van Rijssel, Paul A. M. Hofman, Albert Twijnstra, Herve L. J. Tanghe, M. G. Myriam Hunink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: To compare the cost-effectiveness of using selective computed tomographic (CT) strategies with that of performing CT in all patients with minor head injury (MHI). Materials and methods: The internal review board approved the study; written informed consent was obtained from all interviewed patients. Five strategies were evaluated, with CT performed in all patients with MHI; selectively according to the New Orleans criteria (NOC), Canadian CT head rule (CCHR), or CT in head injury patients ( CHIP) rule; or in no patients. A decision tree was used to analyze short-term costs and effectiveness, and a Markov model was used to analyze long-term costs and effectiveness. n-Way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses and value-of-information (VOI) analysis were performed. Data from the multicenter CHIP Study involving 3181 patients with MHI were used. Outcome measures were first-year and lifetime costs, quality-adjusted life-years, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. Results: Study results showed that performing CT selectively according to the CCHR or the CHIP rule could lead to substantial U. S. cost savings ($120 million and $71 million, respectively), and the CCHR was the most cost-effective at reference-case analysis. When the prediction rule had lower than 97% sensitivity for the identification of patients who required neurosurgery, performing CT in all patients was cost-effective. The CHIP rule was most likely to be cost-effective. At VOI analysis, the expected value of perfect information was $7 billion, mainly because of uncertainty about long-term functional outcomes. Conclusion: Selecting patients with MHI for CT renders cost savings and may be cost-effective, provided the sensitivity for the identification of patients who require neurosurgery is extremely high. Uncertainty regarding long-term functional outcomes after MHI justifies the routine use of CT in all patients with these injuries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-540
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

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