Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Age-Based HCV Screen Could Save More Lives: From the Annual Digestive Disease Week

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Age-Based HCV Screen Could Save More Lives: From the Annual Digestive Disease Week

Article excerpt

Atargeted, age-based screening program would result in 59,000 fewer deaths associated with hepatitis C and advanced liver disease, compared with the current risk-based screening program, based on statistical modeling.

Under current U.S. screening practices, "people with no risk factors might not get screened," said Dr. Zobair Younossi of the Inova Health System in Fairfax, Va., who presented the results at the meeting.

Individuals with hepatitis C may not show symptoms until decades after they have been infected, he noted. Recent studies have shown that the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among the "baby boomer plus" population (people born from 1946 to 1970) in the United States may be higher than expected. "A screening strategy based on age, rather than risk factors, could have a significant impact" on the disease, he said.

Dr. Younossi and colleagues used a Markov model of the natural history of the infection and its complications. They applied the model to a population of about 102 million individuals who were eligible for screening, and found that the birth cohort screening (BCS) strategy would result in 59,000 fewer deaths related to HCV infection and 106,000 fewer cases of advanced liver disease, compared with the current risk-based screening (RBS) strategy. The researchers designed a mathematical model using a birth cohort of "baby boomer plus" individuals. They estimated the current hepatitis C status and stage of disease progression using a run-in period from 1964 to 2010, as well as using age- and sex-based rates of infection, progression, and spontaneous clearance. BCS involved the assumption that 100% of the cohort would be screened within the first 5 years, starting in 2010.

The model suggested that BCS would cost approximately $25,000 for each additional quality-adjusted year of life gained. …

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