Background-:Stimulants are widely used to treat children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and may increase the risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD). We examined the cost-effectiveness of pretreatment screening with ECG for reducing SCD risk in children diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder who are candidates for stimulant medication. METHOD AND RESULTS-: We constructed a state-transition Markov model with 10 annual cycles spanning 7 to 17 years of age. Taking a societal perspective, we compared the cost-effectiveness of 3 screening strategies: (1) performing a history and physical examination with cardiology referral if abnormal (current standard of care); (2) performing a history and physical examination plus ECG after negative history and physical examination, with cardiology referral if either is abnormal; and (3) performing a history and physical examination plus ECG, with cardiology referral only if ECG is abnormal. Children identified with SCD-associated cardiac abnormalities would be restricted from stimulants and from playing competitive sports. The expected incremental cost-effectiveness over strategy 1 was $39 300 and $27 200 per quality-adjusted life-year for strategies 2 and 3, respectively. Monte Carlo simulation found that the chance of incremental cost-effectiveness was 55% for strategy 2 and 71% for strategy 3 (willingness to pay ≤$50 000 per quality-adjusted life-year). Both strategies 2 and 3 would avert 13 SCDs per 400 000 children seeking stimulant treatment for ADHD, for a cost of $1.6 million per life for strategy 2 and $1.2 million per life for strategy 3. Conclusions-: Relative to current practice, adding ECG screening to history and physical examination pretreatment screening for children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder has borderline cost-effectiveness for preventing SCD. Relative cost-effectiveness may be improved by basing cardiology referral on ECG alone. Benefits of ECG screening arise primarily by restricting children identified with SCD risk from competitive sports.
- Death, sudden
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)