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BackgroundAutoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a rare chronic progressive liver disease, managed with corticosteroids and immunosuppressants and monitored using a combination of liver biochemistry and histology. Liver biopsy (gold standard) is invasive, costly and has risk of complications. Non-invasive imaging using multiparametric magnetic resonance (mpMR) can detect the presence and extent of hepatic fibroinflammation in a risk-free manner.ObjectiveTo conduct early economic modelling to assess the affordability of using mpMR as an alternative to liver biopsy.MethodsMedical test costs associated with following 100 patients over a 5-year time horizon were assessed from a National Health Service payor perspective using tariff costs and average biopsy-related adverse events costs. Sensitivity analyses modelling the cost consequences of increasing the frequency of mpMR monitoring within the fixed cost of liver biopsy were performed.ResultsPer 100 moderate/severe AIH patients receiving an annual mpMR scan (in place of biopsy), early economic modelling showed minimum cost savings of £232 333. Per 100 mild/moderate AIH patients receiving three mpMR scans over 5 years estimated minimum cost savings were £139 400. One-way sensitivity analyses showed increasing the frequency of mpMR scans from 5 to 10 over 5 years in moderate/severe AIH patients results in a cost saving of £121 926.20. In patients with mild/moderate AIH, an increase from 3 to 6 mpMR scans over 5 years could save £73 155.72. In a minimalistic approach, the use of 5 mpMR scans was still cost saving (£5770.48) if they were to replace two biopsies over the 5-year period for all patients with moderate/severe or mild/moderate AIH.ConclusionsIntegration of mpMR scans in AIH patient pathways leads to significant cost savings when liver biopsy frequency is either reduced or eliminated, in addition to improved patient experience and clinician acceptability as well as providing detailed phenotyping to improve patient outcomes.Trial registrationNCT03979053.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ open

Publication Date





Oxford Academic Health Science Network, Oxford, UK


Liver, Humans, Liver Diseases, Hepatitis, Autoimmune, Biopsy, Cost-Benefit Analysis, State Medicine, England