MASSDEVICE ON CALL — New York researchers unveiled in a recent report that as many as 25% of recent diagnostic catheterizations performed in state hospitals were conducted in patients who didn’t meet criteria for the procedure, as rated by newly published standards.
More than half of treated patients had no chest pain, no stress test prior to catheterization and low scores for coronary artery disease evaluations, researchers said. The standards used to determine the validity of the procedures weren’t published until after the report was released, authors noted, but the variation among hospitals – some 9% rates of inappropriate procedures and others as much as 49% – suggest that something can be done to improve patient assessments.
"It appears that there are a lot of patients who are getting this procedure who don’t really need it, and [physicians] need to look over the appropriateness criteria carefully before making a decision as to whether or not to use [it]," Dr Edward L Hannan told HeartWire. "It is an expensive procedure, and it sometimes can lead to complications [or] adverse outcomes; so . . . you shouldn’t be doing it when it doesn’t need to be done."
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