Cost-Effectiveness of Ambulatory Blood Pressure - A Reanalysis

Lawrence R. Krakoff From the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Englewood, NJ.

Accurate diagnosis of hypertension and prognosis for future cardiovascular events can be enhanced through the use of 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. It has been suggested that the use of ambulatory monitoring as a secondary screening for hypertension might be cost-effective. Many needed studies that are related to the calculation of cost-effectiveness for ambulatory monitoring have become available in recent years. More accurate estimates for cost of care, costs for testing, prevalence of white-coat hypertension, and incidence of the transition from normal pressures to hypertension have been reported. This study presents calculations of the cost savings likely to take place when ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is implemented for newly detected hypertensive subjects. These calculations are based on current estimates for cost of testing, cost of treatment, prevalence of white-coat hypertension at baseline, and varying the incidence of new hypertension after the initial screening. The results indicate a potential savings of 3% to 14% for cost of care for hypertension and 10% to 23% reduction in treatment days when ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is incorporated into the diagnostic process. At current reimbursement rates, the cost of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring for secondary screening on an annual basis would be <10% of treatment costs. Calculated savings for use of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can take place when annual treatment costs are as little as $300. These estimates should be considered for the management of recently detected hypertension, especially when the risk of future cardiovascular is disease is low.




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