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AI-based opportunistic CT screening of incidental cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and sarcopenia: cost-effectiveness analysis

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To assess the cost-effectiveness and clinical efficacy of AI-assisted abdominal CT-based opportunistic screening for atherosclerotic cardiovascular (CV) disease, osteoporosis, and sarcopenia using artificial intelligence (AI) body composition algorithms.


Markov models were constructed and 10-year simulations were performed on hypothetical age- and sex-specific cohorts of 10,000 U.S. adults (base case: 55 year olds) undergoing abdominal CT. Using expected disease prevalence, transition probabilities between health states, associated healthcare costs, and treatment effectiveness related to relevant conditions (CV disease/osteoporosis/sarcopenia) were modified by three mutually exclusive screening models: (1) usual care (“treat none”; no intervention regardless of opportunistic CT findings), (2) universal statin therapy (“treat all” for CV prevention; again, no consideration of CT findings), and (3) AI-assisted abdominal CT-based opportunistic screening for CV disease, osteoporosis, and sarcopenia using automated quantitative algorithms for abdominal aortic calcification, bone mineral density, and skeletal muscle, respectively. Model validity was assessed against published clinical cohorts.


For the base-case scenarios of 55-year-old men and women modeled over 10 years, AI-assisted CT-based opportunistic screening was a cost-saving and more effective clinical strategy, unlike the “treat none” and “treat all” strategies that ignored incidental CT body composition data. Over a wide range of input assumptions beyond the base case, the CT-based opportunistic strategy was dominant over the other two scenarios, as it was both more clinically efficacious and more cost-effective. Cost savings and clinical improvement for opportunistic CT remained for AI tool costs up to $227/patient in men ($65 in women) from the $10/patient base-case scenario.


AI-assisted CT-based opportunistic screening appears to be a highly cost-effective and clinically efficacious strategy across a broad array of input assumptions, and was cost saving in most scenarios.

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This study was supported in part by grants from Nano-X Imaging Ltd and Bracco Diagnostics; the funders had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report.

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Correspondence to Perry J. Pickhardt.

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Dr. Pickhardt is an advisor to Nanox, Bracco, and GE Healthcare; Dr. Hassan is a consultant for Fujifilm, Olympus, Norgine, and Cosmo.

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Pickhardt, P.J., Correale, L. & Hassan, C. AI-based opportunistic CT screening of incidental cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and sarcopenia: cost-effectiveness analysis. Abdom Radiol 48, 1181–1198 (2023).

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