Angioplasty is Cost-Effective Alternative to Bypass

Better techniques mean cost benefits of angioplasty sustained over long-term

MONDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In men at high risk of death from heart bypass surgery, percutaneous coronary intervention is just as effective and has significant cost benefits that are sustained even after five years, according to a study published online Sept. 11 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Kevin T. Stroupe, Ph.D., of Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a cost analysis of 454 patients at 16 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers, of whom 218 underwent percutaneous coronary intervention and 227 had coronary artery bypass grafting surgery.

At the three-year mark, there was a $20,468 cost differential between percutaneous procedures ($63,896) and bypass surgery ($84,364). Survival rates were essentially the same -- 0.82 for percutaneous procedures versus 0.79 for bypass patients. After five years, percutaneous interventions became more cost-effective. While the cost differential was slightly narrower (a difference of $18,732; $81,790 for percutaneous, $100,522 for bypass), five-year survival for percutaneous patients was 0.75 compared with 0.70 for CABG patients.

Over time "angioplasty techniques have improved and patients are getting stents, which help prevent the arteries from closing up again," said Stroupe in a statement. While drug-eluting stents add to the initial cost, this "is likely to be less than the gap between angioplasty and bypass surgery that was found after five years," he added.

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