Stents Do the Trick for Heart Patients

They're a cost-effective way to open arteries, study finds

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MONDAY, Nov. 10, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- While initially more expensive than balloon angioplasty alone, the use of stents to prop open narrowed arteries are durable and cost-effective over time.

So says a study in the Nov. 10 online issue of Circulation.

"Stenting costs about $1,400 more at the outset. But over one year, the stent essentially paid for itself because stents reduce the rate of restenosis (artery renarrowing)," senior author Dr. David J. Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says in a prepared statement.

The study compared cost-effectiveness in 846 people with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) who received stenting alone to 857 people who received balloon angioplasty alone. Compared to balloon angioplasty, stenting added $1,148 to the procedural costs and $1,384 more to the entire cost of hospitalization.

Overall, the one-year cost for stenting was $18,859 compared to $18,690 for balloon angioplasty.

The study found the cost-effectiveness ratio for stenting was $11,237 per quality-adjusted year of life gained. Treatments that cost less than $50,000 per quality-adjusted year of life gained are considered cost-effective.

A stent is a wire mesh tube that's used to prop open an artery that's recently been cleared using angioplasty. By keeping the artery open, the stent helps improve blood flow to the heart.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about stents.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 10, 2003

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