Background and objectives: Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) can be effectively detected and managed in primary care, but the health economic evidence for this is scarce. The aim of this study was to examine management pathways and cost implications of FH screening and management in Australian general practice.
Method: Cost-effectiveness outcomes were projected using a life table model. Data was used from 133 patients in 15 Australian general practice clinics from an earlier screening and management study. Costing and mortality data were sourced from governmental sources and published literature.
Results: Most patients had a regular general practice consultation at baseline (82%), though the proportion seen under a chronic disease management item at follow-up increased to 23%. The median cost of management was $275 per annum in the first year of management. Managing patients with statins up to the age of 60 years yielded an increase of 248,954 life-years at a cost of $759 million, representing a cost per life-year gained of $3047.
Discussion: Screening and management of FH in general practice has the potential for substantial health benefits while requiring relatively modest investments from the health system.