Delayed cardiac test saves money

November 3, 2010

Typically when someone presents to the emergency department with acute chest pain, the patient is admitted for further workup.

Typically when someone presents to the emergency department with acute chest pain, the patient is admitted for further workup. Singapore researchers found not only is it safe to discharge the patient, provided he or she receives SPECT within a week, but doing so also saves the hospital approximately $800 per patient per admission.

Dr. Raymond Wong, in the cardiac department at the National University Heart Center at the National University Hospital, and colleagues evaluated patients with acute chest pain or angina-equivalent symptoms such as shortness of breath. Patients received SPECT and a cardiac clinic evaluation within a week. If the SPECT was abnormal, the patient went on to receive coronary angiography.

Among 101 patients who didn’t undergo coronary angiography following SPECT, a total of 303 hospitalization days were saved, translating to an estimated $800.36 per patient per admission (Emerg Radiol 2010;17:375-380).