Purpose: We aimed to determine if a non-contrast screening MRI is cost-effective compared to a full MRI protocol with contrast for the evaluation of vestibular schwannomas. Methods: A decision tree was constructed to evaluate full MRI and screening MRI strategies for patients with asymmetric sensorineural hearing loss. If a patient were to have a positive screening MRI, s/he received a full MRI. Vestibular schwannoma prevalence, MRI specificity and sensitivity, and gadolinium anaphylaxis incidence were obtained through literature review. Institutional charge data were obtained using representative patient cohorts. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were completed to determine CE model threshold points for MRI performance characteristics and charges. Results: The mean charge for a full MRI with contrast was significantly higher than a screening MRI ($4089 ± 1086 versus $2872 ± 741; p < 0.05). The screening MRI protocol was more cost-effective than a full MRI protocol with a willingness-to-pay from $0 to 20,000 USD. Sensitivity analyses determined that the screening protocol dominated when the screening MRI charge was less than $4678, and the imaging specificity exceeded 78.2%. The screening MRI protocol also dominated when vestibular schwannoma prevalence was varied between 0 and 1000 in 10,000 people. Conclusion: A screening MRI protocol is more cost-effective than a full MRI with contrast in the diagnostic evaluation of a vestibular schwannoma. A screening MRI likely also confers benefits of shorter exam time and no contrast use. Further investigation is needed to confirm the relative performance of screening protocols for vestibular schwannomas.
- Asymmetric sensorineural hearing loss
- Cerebellopontine angle
- Vestibular schwannoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine