Isolated echogenic intracardiac foci and the role of cell-free fetal DNA: A cost-effectiveness analysis

Francis M. Hacker, Alyssa R. Hersh, Brian L. Shaffer, Aaron B. Caughey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Cell-free fetal DNA (cfDNA) has been increasingly incorporated into prenatal aneuploidy screening paradigms given its relatively high sensitivity for Down syndrome (DS). This is often the case when fetal ultrasonographic soft markers are present, such as the relatively common echogenic intracardiac focus (EIF). We sought to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a screening strategy that included cfDNA screening when an isolated EIF is identified in a low-risk population with prior aneuploidy screening. Methods: A decision-analytic model was constructed using TreeAge software with probabilities derived from the literature. Our model compared cfDNA screening following isolated EIF detection in women less than 35 years with prior reassuring first trimester screen compared to a strategy of no further aneuploidy screening. Strategies were compared to generate an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio with a threshold of $100 000/quality-adjusted life year (QALY) and applied to a theoretical cohort. Results: The cfDNA strategy resulted in 21 fewer DS births and 52 additional QALYs, however, increased costs by $51.3 million. This yielded an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $986 503; therefore, it was not a cost-effective strategy. Conclusion: In a low-risk population with prior reassuring aneuploidy screening, it is not cost effective to offer cfDNA after identification of an isolated EIF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1517-1524
Number of pages8
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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