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Medical Devices Driving Up Heart Care Costs

Drug-coated stents, implanted defibrillators add more than $4 billion to U.S. health bill, study shows

THURSDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Costs for patients with chronic heart failure and coronary artery disease are going up because more physicians are turning to pricey, surgically implanted devices such as medically coated stents and cardioverter-defibrillators, a new report finds.

Researchers led by Dr. Peter Groeneveld of Philadelphia VA Medical Center examined Medicare claims from 2003-2006 and focused on patients aged 66-85 who were diagnosed with the two conditions.

The researchers found that when adjusted for inflation, the average costs for coronary artery disease treatment grew from $12,160 in 2003 to $12,721 in 2006, while the cost for chronic heart failure patients went up from $17,153 to $18,371 in the same period.

The researchers also found that use of stents coated with medication boosted Medicare's overall cost for coronary artery disease in people aged 66-85 by $3.32 billion and by $774 million for chronic heart failure patients.

The findings are slated to be released Thursday at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke 2010 Scientific Sessions in Washington D.C.

More information

Vist the U.S. National Library of Medicine for more about heart disease.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Heart Association, May 20, 2010, news release.

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