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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Screening blood donors for hereditary hemochromatosis: decision analysis model based on a 30-year database.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: The high prevalence, morbidity, premature death, and benefit of early diagnosis and treatment make hemochromatosis a prime target for screening in the white population. Decision analysis techniques were used to compare the outcome, utility, and incremental cost savings of a plan to screen voluntary blood donors for hemochromatosis. METHODS: The screening strategy includes sequential testing of serum unsaturated iron-binding capacity, serum transferrin saturation, serum ferritin, and either hepatic iron index or venesections to measure exchangeable body iron. Estimates of prevalence, asymptomatic intervals, probabilities of life-threatening clinical complications, symptom-specific life expectancy, and sensitivity and specificity of screening tests are based on our database of 170 hemochromatosis homozygotes and the published literature. RESULTS: The screening strategy led to an incremental increase in utility of 0.84 quality-adjusted life days with an incremental cost savings of $3.19 per blood donor screened. When the potential of identifying asymptomatic homozygous siblings was included, these values increased to 1.18 quality-adjusted life days and $12.57 per person screened. Screening remained a dominant strategy given a prevalence of hemochromatosis of > 0.0026 or an initial screening test cost of < $8. CONCLUSIONS: Screening blood donors for hemochromatosis has the potential to improve overall societal health status and decrease third-party payer health care costs over the long-term.[1]


  1. Screening blood donors for hereditary hemochromatosis: decision analysis model based on a 30-year database. Adams, P.C., Gregor, J.C., Kertesz, A.E., Valberg, L.S. Gastroenterology (1995) [Pubmed]
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