European Journal of Neurology vol:12 issue:4 pages:254-263
(18)F-fluoro-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) can aid to predict AD in an early stage. The aim of this study was to estimate the economic effects of incorporating FDG PET in the diagnostic work-up of AD in a Belgian and European setting. A decision tree analysis was followed comparing a conventional algorithm using diagnostic clinical criteria and one that also incorporates PET. Major outcome terms were overall cost per patient in either strategy; diagnostic accuracy and cost per accurate diagnosis. A sensitivity analysis was performed for four critical variables: cost of PET, sensitivity and specificity of PET and delay in cognitive decline because of appropriate medication. Cost-savings per accurate diagnosis ranged from 623-6110 Euro in favour of the proposed algorithm with PET. For the same cost, more accurate diagnoses were made, resulting in benefit for patients and society. The positive results were maintained over a wide range of values for the critical variables and were expandable to other European countries with a similar health system. Therefore, incorporation of FDG PET into the clinical diagnostic work up of patients with early symptoms of cognitive decline can be advocated.