FAIRFAX, Va.Although minimally invasive (endovascular) treatments for patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) result in shorter hospital stays and the potential to save Medicare millions of dollars each year, a new study reveals that the quality of care and cost depend on who's providing the treatment. The study, which appears in this month's Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, is the first and largest study of its kind on these treatments for Medicare patients age 65 and older.
"Identifying quality health care and cost savings for treating a disease that affects millions of Americans is critical," said Marshall Hicks, M.D., FSIR, president-elect of the Society of Interventional Radiology, a national scientific organization of nearly 4,700 doctors, scientists and allied health professionals dedicated to improving health care through minimally invasive treatments. "This study can help consumers understand that different doctors get different outcomes for the same treatmentsand that they have a choice," said Hicks, an interventional radiologist and head of the diagnostic imaging division at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
PAD is a common yet dangerous condition that affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States (12 percent of Americans over age 65) and can lead to heart attack or stroke. The vascular disease develops mostly as a result of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, which occurs when cholesterol and scar tissue build up, forming plaque that narrows and clogs the arteries and slows blood flow to the legs.
Researchers in the study reviewed Medicare claims data from more than 14,000 patients with PAD over two years from Medicare's Standard Analytical Files, which present a large dataset that contains all services (physician, inpatient, and outpatient). The authors compared outcomes of percutaneous (procedures done through the skin) PAD t
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Society of Interventional Radiology