Effectiveness and costs of screening for aneurysms every 5 years after subarachnoid hemorrhage

Marieke J.H. Wermer, Hendrik Koffijberg, Irene C. Van Der Schaaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Patients who survive after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) are at risk for a recurrence despite successful treatment of the ruptured aneurysm and may therefore benefit from screening for new aneurysms.

Methods: We screened 610 patients with SAH with CT angiography 2-18 years after clipping of the aneurysms. Results of screening were used as input for a Markov decision model. We compared the expected number of recurrent hemorrhages, life expectancy, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and costs associated with the strategies "screening every 5 years" and "no screening."

Results: Screening individuals with previous SAH prevented almost half of the recurrences, slightly increased life expectancy (from 21.06 to 21.08 years), but reduced QALYs (from 12.18 to 12.04) and increased costs (from $2,750 to $4,165 per patient). Screening was cost-saving without increasing QALYs in patients with a more than twofold risk above baseline of both aneurysm formation and rupture and it was cost-saving while increasing QALYs if both risks were at least 4.5 times higher. In patients with reduced quality of life because of fear for a recurrence, screening increased QALYs at a maximum cost of $17,422 per QALY.

Conclusions: In general, screening patients with previous subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) cannot be recommended. Screening can save costs and increase quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) in patients with a relatively high risk of both aneurysm formation and rupture, and increases QALYs at acceptable costs in patients with fear for a recurrence. More data are needed on risk factors for aneurysm formation and rupture in patients with previous SAH and on management of fear for a recurrence to identify patients who can benefit from screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2053-2062
Number of pages10
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2008


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