Methods: We performed a cost effectiveness analysis of CRAG screening amongst SOT recipients. We estimated costs of screening from Medicare reimbursement of $16.49 for CPT 87899 (Infectious agent antigen detection by immunoassay). We determined the number at risk from a large cohort of 42,634 adult SOT recipients from ICD-9 CM billing data from HCUP State Inpatient Databases of Florida (2006–2012), New York (2006–2011), and California (2004–2010). Cost of screening was compared with the cost of inpatient hospitalization.
Results: Among 42,634 adult SOT recipients, 158 (0.37%) developed cryptococcosis at a median time of 15.5 months (range 0.1 -80) after transplant. During the 43 month follow up, there was approximately 2.5% annual mortality. The estimated cost of hospital care for cryptococcal meningitis per person is approximately $70,000 in 2016 with current explosive cost of flucytosine at ~$29,000 per 2 weeks. Thus, the total estimated cost of hospital care in the cohort would be $11.0 million in 2016. In comparison, the cost to screen all 42,634 SOT recipients every three months would be $8.8 million. If CRAG screening could detect 75% of asymptomatic cryptococcal antigenemia prior to symptomatic disease requiring prolonged hospitalization, it would be approximately cost neutral ($11.5 million), and even cost saving if above 80% of hospitalizations are averted. Alternatively stated, for every one hospitalization avoided, 4245 persons could be CRAG screened for similar cost and likely better outcome.
Conclusion: Assuming the ability of routine screening to identify 75% of patients who would develop invasive cryptococcosis ; CRAG screening every 3 months among SOT recipients likely would be at least cost neutral to the healthcare system. Antecedent duration of cryptococcal antigenemia prior to symptomatic disease in Non-HIV/SOT cohorts to inform optimal screening intervals should be further studied. Prospective SOT cohorts should validate this approach to save lives in a cost-effective manner.
W. G. Powderly, None
D. Boulware, None