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Eur J Radiol. 2013 Aug;82(8):1353-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2013.02.017. Epub 2013 Mar 11.

Cost effectiveness of high resolution computed tomography with interferon-gamma release assay for tuberculosis contact investigation.

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Kojiya Haneda Healthcare Service, Ota City Public Health Office, Tokyo, Japan.



Tuberculosis contact investigation is one of the important public health strategies to control tuberculosis worldwide. Recently, high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) has been reported as a more accurate radiological method with higher sensitivity and specificity than chest X-ray (CXR) to detect active tuberculosis. In this study, we assessed the cost effectiveness of HRCT compared to CXR in combination with QuantiFERON(®)-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT) or the tuberculin skin test (TST) for tuberculosis contact investigation.


We constructed Markov models using a societal perspective on the lifetime horizon. The target population was a hypothetical cohort of immunocompetent 20-year-old contacts with smear-positive tuberculosis patients in developed countries. Six strategies; QFT followed by CXR, QFT followed by HRCT, TST followed by CXR, TST followed by HRCT, CXR alone and HRCT alone were modeled. All costs and clinical benefits were discounted at a fixed annual rate of 3%.


In the base-case analysis, QFT followed by HRCT strategy yielded the greatest benefit at the lowest cost ($US 6308.65; 27.56045 quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs])[year 2012 values]. Cost-effectiveness was sensitive to BCG vaccination rate.


The QFT followed by HRCT strategy yielded the greatest benefits at the lowest cost. HRCT chest imaging, instead of CXR, is recommended as a cost effective addition to the evaluation and management of tuberculosis contacts in public health policy.

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