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Optimal cholesterol treatment plans and genetic testing strategies for cardiovascular diseases.

Marrero WJ, Lavieri MS, Sussman JB. Optimal cholesterol treatment plans and genetic testing strategies for cardiovascular diseases. Health Care Management Science. 2021 Mar 1; 24(1):1-25.

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Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) is among the leading causes of death in the US. Although research has shown that ASCVD has genetic elements, the understanding of how genetic testing influences its prevention and treatment has been limited. To this end, we model the health trajectory of patients stochastically and determine treatment and testing decisions simultaneously. Since the cholesterol level of patients is one controllable risk factor for ASCVD events, we model cholesterol treatment plans as Markov decision processes. We determine whether and when patients should receive a genetic test using value of information analysis. By simulating the health trajectory of over 64 million adult patients, we find that 6.73 million patients undergo genetic testing. The optimal treatment plans informed with clinical and genetic information save 5,487 more quality-adjusted life-years while costing $1.18 billion less than the optimal treatment plans informed with clinical information only. As precision medicine becomes increasingly important, understanding the impact of genetic information becomes essential.

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