Analysis of coronary angioplasty practice in the United States with an insurance-claims data base.
BACKGROUND Coronary angioplasty is frequently performed in the United States, with more than 300,000 procedures in 1990. Despite the high rate of use of the procedure, there have been few studies addressing practice patterns.
METHODS AND RESULTS From a private insurance claims data base of 5.4 million individuals, a total of 2,101 patients who underwent coronary angioplasty during 1988-1989 were identified. Using their 4,578 hospital admission records and 87,578 outpatient claim records, with an average follow-up of 332 +/- 182 days, we compared patients' outcomes and charges according to whether they had an exercise stress test before the procedure, by sex, by region of the country, and by whether the angioplasty was performed in an institution with a training program. Only 29% of the study cohort had exercise testing before angioplasty; patients in the West (p = 0.001), those undergoing multivessel angioplasty (p = 0.00001), and those whose procedures were performed at sites with training programs (p = 0.04) were more likely to have a screening test, whereas women (p = 0.008) and those with a recent myocardial infarction (p = 0.00001) were less likely to have a screening test. The average length of stay for patients without myocardial infarction as a primary diagnosis was 5.6 days, with a total hospital charge of $15,027. In follow-up, 15.1% had coronary artery bypass surgery and 15% had at least one additional angioplasty procedure; the average follow-up charges were $4,879. Charges varied according to sex, region of the country, and academic status of the angioplasty institution. Certain outcomes showed variation by region of the country and academic status of the angioplasty institution.
CONCLUSIONS The relative lack of an objective definition of myocardial ischemia and the marked variability of use of procedures according to geographic region suggest the need for further implementation of established guidelines.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association