Cardiac CTA screening pays off if price is right

August 1, 2006

A cost-effectiveness study performed by Thomas Jefferson University researchers indicates cardiac CT angiography makes financial sense in nonemergent cases if the price is appropriate.

A cost-effectiveness study performed by Thomas Jefferson University researchers indicates cardiac CT angiography makes financial sense in nonemergent cases if the price is appropriate.

Outpatient standard angiography costs almost $2800, based on 2005 Medicare reimbursement rates. The scientific literature shows that about 10% to 30% of cardiac catheterizations in nonurgent cases are normal and, thus, unnecessary. CTA becomes a screening alternative to conventional catheter angiography when priced up to $270 or $810, reflecting the estimated lower and higher normalcy rates of 10% and 30%, respectively, according to Andrea Frangos, a research associate at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In addition to ruling out significant lesions, CTA can reveal findings that could save on extra treatment and hospitalization costs related to catheterization. Frangos presented a comparison of cardiac CTA with conventional catheter angiography in nonemergent patients at the 2006 American Roentgen Ray Society meeting in Vancouver.