Cost-effectiveness analysis of a model of first-trimester prediction and prevention of preterm pre-eclampsia compared with usual care

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Nov;58(5):688-697. doi: 10.1002/uog.22193. Epub 2021 Oct 19.


Objectives: Pre-eclampsia (PE) causes substantial maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity. In addition to the personal impact on women, children and their families, PE has a significant economic impact on our society. Recent research suggests that a first-trimester multivariate model is highly predictive of preterm (< 37 weeks' gestation) PE and can be combined successfully with targeted prophylaxis (low-dose aspirin), resulting in an 80% reduction in prevalence of disease. The aim of this study was to examine the potential health outcomes and cost implications following introduction of first-trimester prediction and prevention of preterm PE within a public healthcare setting, compared with usual care, and to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis to inform health-service decisions regarding implementation of such a program.

Methods: A decision-analytic model was used to compare usual care with the proposed first-trimester screening intervention within the obstetric population (n = 6822) attending two public hospitals within a metropolitan district health service in New South Wales, Australia, between January 2015 and December 2016. The model, applied from early pregnancy, included exposure to a variety of healthcare professionals and addressed type of risk assessment (usual care or first-trimester screening) and use of (compliance with) low-dose aspirin prescribed prophylactically for prevention of PE. All pathways culminated in six possible health outcomes, ranging from no PE to maternal death. Results were presented as the number of cases of PE gained/avoided and the incremental increase/decrease in economic costs arising from the intervention compared with usual care. Significant assumptions were tested in sensitivity/uncertainty analyses.

Results: The intervention produced, across all gestational ages, 31 fewer cases of PE and reduced aggregate economic health-service costs by 1 431 186 Australian dollars over the 2-year period. None of the tested iterations of uncertainty analyses reported additional cases of PE or higher economic costs. The new intervention based on first-trimester screening dominated usual care.

Conclusion: This cost-effectiveness analysis demonstrated a reduction in prevalence of preterm PE and substantial cost savings associated with a population-based program of first-trimester prediction and prevention of PE, and supports implementation of such a policy. © 2020 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Keywords: cost-effectiveness analysis; economic analysis; first-trimester screening; pre-eclampsia; pregnancy screening; resource utilization.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Decision Rules*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Health Plan Implementation
  • Humans
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / economics*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Premature Birth / diagnosis
  • Premature Birth / economics
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / economics*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Program Evaluation
  • Risk Assessment