Cost-effectiveness of point-of-care creatinine testing to assess kidney function prior to contrast-enhanced computed tomography imaging

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BACKGROUND: Patients undergoing contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) imaging in a non-emergency outpatient setting often lack a recent estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate measurement. This may lead to inefficiencies in the CECT pathway. The use of point-of-care (POC) creatinine tests to evaluate kidney function in these patients may provide a safe and cost-effective alternative to current practice, as these can provide results within the same CECT appointment.

METHODS: A decision tree model was developed to characterise the diagnostic pathway and patient management (e.g., intravenous hydration) and link these to adverse renal events associated with intravenous contrast media. Twelve diagnostic strategies including three POC devices (i-STAT, ABL800 Flex and StatSensor), risk factor screening and laboratory testing were compared with current practice. The diagnostic accuracy of POC devices was derived from a systematic review and meta-analysis; relevant literature sources and databases informed other parameters. The cost-effective strategy from a health care perspective was identified based on highest net health benefit (NHB) which were expressed in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) at £20,000/QALY.

RESULTS: The cost-effective strategy, with a NHB of 9.98 QALYs and a probability of being cost-effective of 79.3%, was identified in our analysis to be a testing sequence involving screening all individuals for risk factors, POC testing (with i-STAT) on those screening positive, and performing a confirmatory laboratory test for individuals with a positive POC result. The incremental NHB of this strategy compared to current practice, confirmatory laboratory test, is 0.004 QALYs. Results were generally robust to scenario analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: A testing sequence combining a risk factor questionnaire, POC test and confirmatory laboratory testing appears to be cost-effective compared to current practice. The cost-effectiveness of POC testing appears to be driven by reduced delays within the CECT pathway. The contribution of intravenous contrast media to acute kidney injury, and the benefits and harms of intravenous hydration remain uncertain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109872
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean journal of radiology
Early online date27 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

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© 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Creatinine
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed

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