Five-hundred life-saving interventions and their cost-effectiveness

Risk Anal. 1995 Jun;15(3):369-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.1995.tb00330.x.


We gathered information on the cost-effectiveness of life-saving interventions in the United States from publicly available economic analyses. "Life-saving interventions" were defined as any behavioral and/or technological strategy that reduces the probability of premature death among a specified target population. We defined cost-effectiveness as the net resource costs of an intervention per year of life saved. To improve the comparability of cost-effectiveness ratios arrived at with diverse methods, we established fixed definitional goals and revised published estimates, when necessary and feasible, to meet these goals. The 587 interventions identified ranged from those that save more resources than they cost, to those costing more than 10 billion dollars per year of life saved. Overall, the median intervention costs $42,000 per life-year saved. The median medical intervention cost $19,000/life-year; injury reduction $48,000/life-year; and toxin control $2,800,000/life-year. Cost/life-year ratios and bibliographic references for more than 500 life-saving interventions are provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Death
  • Diagnosis
  • Health Resources / economics
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Primary Prevention / economics
  • Risk Management
  • Therapeutics / economics
  • Toxicology / economics
  • United States
  • Value of Life*
  • Wounds and Injuries / economics
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control