Original Paper

The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 947-957

First online:

Targeted screening for Coeliac Disease among irritable bowel syndrome patients: analysis of cost-effectiveness and value of information

  • Leyla MohseninejadAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen Email author 
  • , Talitha FeenstraAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen
  • , Henriëtte E. van der HorstAffiliated withDepartment of General Practice, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center
  • , Hèlen Woutersen-KochAffiliated withDutch College of General Practitioners
  • , Erik BuskensAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen

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A high prevalence of Coeliac Disease (CD) is found among patients with a clinical diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) compared to the general population. Symptoms of CD are quite similar to IBS, but its treatment is different. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of screening for CD in patients with diarrhoea/mixed type IBS (IBS-D/mix) in terms of cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) in the Netherlands.


A decision model was constructed to evaluate the costs and health benefits of serological testing followed by confirmatory endoscopy with biopsy. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis (PSA) was performed to examine the effect of parameter uncertainty. Finally, the budget impact of implementing the screening process was also computed for implementation over a 10-year time horizon.


Screening resulted in an increase of about 0.07 quality life years (QALYs) per patient over a lifetime horizon. The incremental cost effectiveness ratio was about 6,200 €/QALY compared to no screening. The PSA showed that the uncertainty in cost effectiveness results is not considerable. The value of information analysis confirmed the robustness of the results. Screening all current patients with diarrhea/mixed type IBS would require a total budget of about 25 million Euros over a 10 year time period.


Screening patients with IBS-D or IBS-mix for CD is almost certainly cost-effective. The screening program would improve the quality of life of those patients with IBS symptoms who actually have CD at a relatively low cost.


Irritable bowel syndrome Coeliac Disease Cost-effectiveness analysis Value of information analysis Screening

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