AHA: Cardio Device Use Increasingly Common and Costly

Use of certain implantable devices responsible for large growth in care costs for cardiovascular disease
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- The increasing use of drug-eluting stents (DES) and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) to treat cardiovascular disease patients has resulted in a large growth in health care costs for the care of those patients, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke 2010 Scientific Sessions, held May 19-21 in Washington, D.C.

Peter W. Groeneveld, M.D., of the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, and colleagues used Medicare claims from 2003 to 2006 to identify patients aged 65 to 84 diagnosed with coronary artery disease (CAD) or chronic heart failure (CHF). They calculated the average cost of care for patients in each group as well as their average use rates of DES and ICDs.

The researchers found that the average inflation-adjusted costs rose from $13,558 to $14,215 for CAD patients, and from $18,930 to $20,235 for CHF patients between 2003 and 2006. They determined that a 1 percent increase in DES use among the CAD group led to $394 in higher mean costs, and a 1 percent increase in ICD use in the CHF group resulted in $627 higher mean costs. In those three years, the aggregate cost increase attributable to DES in the Medicare CAD population was $4.97 billion, and the cost increase attributable to ICDs in the Medicare CHF population was $893 million, according to the researchers.

"Rising use of DES and ICDs between 2003-2006 was associated with significantly higher costs for patients with CAD and CHF, respectively. Increased use of these technologies explained substantial fractions of the growth in health care costs for CAD and CHF patients during these years," the authors write.

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