Objectives: To assess the cost-effectiveness of transvaginal sonography (TVS) in the diagnostic work-up of women with postmenopausal bleeding. Methods: We performed a decision analysis in which we estimated life expectancy and cost of four strategies for the evaluation of postmenopausal bleeding: TVS (I), TVS and office endometrial biopsy (II), TVS and hysteroscopy (III), and endometrial biopsy (IV). In strategies incorporating TVS, calculations were performed for three different cut-off values between 3 and 9 mm double layer. Expectant management, i.e. no diagnosis or treatment was considered to be the reference strategy to which the other four strategies were compared. Data were obtained from the published literature. In extensive sensitivity analyses, we varied patient's age, discount rate, prevalence of endometrial carcinoma and atypical hyperplasia, and costs. Results: The strategy with endometrial biopsy and the strategy with TVS followed by endometrial biopsy in case of an increased endometrial thickness were the most cost-effective strategies. The strategy starting with endometrial biopsy was the most cost-effective when the prevalence of endometrial carcinoma was ≥15.3%, whereas the strategy with TVS and endometrial biopsy was the most cost-effective for women in which the prevalence of endometrial carcinoma was lower. In these strategies, a cut-off level for abnormality of 9 mm resulted in lowest cost per life-year gained. Conclusions: TVS is of use in women with postmenopausal bleeding and a probability of endometrial carcinoma below 15%.
- Postmenopausal bleeding
- Transvaginal sonography