Stress cardiac MRI reduces costs, inpatient days

July 29, 2010
Diagnostic Imaging, Diagnostic Imaging Vol 32 No 7, Volume 32, Issue 7

Stress cardiac MRI reduced incident cost without missing any acute coronary syndrome cases in patients with chest pain at a North Carolina facility.

Stress cardiac MRI reduced incident cost without missing any acute coronary syndrome cases in patients with chest pain at a North Carolina facility.

Normally, patients with an intermediate or high probability of acute coronary syndrome without evidence of a myocardial infarction receive inpatient care. Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center researchers instead randomized patients to receive stress cardiac MRI in an observation unit or receive standard inpatient care (Ann Emerg Med, 2010 May 27 [Epub ahead of print]).

Of the 110 patients, 53 received MRI and 57 went to inpatient care. Eleven patients in the MRI track and 54 in the standard care track were admitted. Median cost for the MR group was $2062 while for the inpatient care group it was $2680.

“As we gain more knowledge and develop better technology, we are realizing that you can both decrease cost and maintain quality,” said Dr. Chadwick Miller, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest and lead author of the study. “This is a good example of such a case, where technology, because it is more accurate, helps us cut costs. It’s a win-win situation.”

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