Cost-effectiveness analysis for evaluation of screening programs: hereditary hemochromatosis

Clin Chem. 1994 Aug;40(8):1631-6.


A significant body of research over the last 10-20 years supports the hypothesis that screening for hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) may be cost-effective, given the low-cost, low-risk therapeutic options available for most homozygous individuals. The factors that confound a straightforward test of this hypothesis include the fact that the disease is not fully penetrant and that, to achieve the anticipated life-year gains, therapy must be instituted before disease complications become irreversible. Recent articles and editorials, as well as practice guidelines prepared by the College of American Pathologists, recommend screening for HH with transferrin saturation and ferritin testing, and with percutaneous liver biopsy for those with positive laboratory test results. Patients at risk would be treated with phlebotomy for life and monitored with ferritin testing. We present a cost-effectiveness analysis that evaluates the efficacy of using a screening strategy to accomplish the desired healthcare goals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / economics
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Hemochromatosis / epidemiology
  • Hemochromatosis / genetics*
  • Hemochromatosis / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / economics*