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Angioplasty Not Always Worth the Price
Date:11/12/2008

ery in the heart. Doctors then inflate a small balloon at the tip of the tube to widen the vessel, insert a stent and restore blood flow.

This secondary analysis involved 2,287 patients who were followed for a median of 4.6 years. Researchers compared the cost of treating angina in Canada, the U.S. non-VA health system and the U.S. VA health system.

Quality of life results were similar among groups, although physical limitation results did vary. The net benefit here ranged from less than 1 percent in U.S. non-VA hospitals to 18 percent in Canadian facilities.

When measured by the frequency of chest pain, researchers calculated the absolute net benefit to be 6.85 percent, with an average added cost for the PCI of $10,107 per patient.

The added cost of PCI ranged from a low of $5,906 per patient in Canada to a high of $15,896 in U.S. VA hospitals.

The overall cost per patient related to angina frequency (as assessed by a patient questionnaire) ranged from a low of $55,700 in Canada (the average in Canada was $118,740) to a high of more than $1 million at U.S. non-VA facilities. The analysis was done in 2004 U.S. dollars.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on angioplasty.



SOURCES: Sidney Smith, Jr., M.D., past president, American Heart Association, and professor, medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Nov. 12, 2008, presentation, American Heart Association annual scientific sessions, New Orleans


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