MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Physicians may be relying too heavily on drug-eluting stents for patients who aren’t at significant risk of restenosis, a preference that could represent an unnecessary financial burden on the healthcare system, a new study suggests.
Opting for less expensive bare-metal stents for patients whose blood vessels aren’t at high risk of re-narrowing could save hundreds of millions of dollars per year without significantly increasing patients’ risk of requiring a repeat procedure, according to a retrospective study of the National Cardiovascular Data Registry CathPCI .
If just half of the low-risk patients currently receiving DES got bare-metal stents instead it would mean more than $200 million saved and only about a 0.5% increase in target lesion revascularization procedures, TheHeart.org reported.
"Our intention was not to advocate a sweeping policy change that would limit physician and patient autonomy but rather to illustrate the potential for cost savings, without a significant increase in patient morbidity, that could be achieved with an evidence-based approach to stent selection, and to encourage shared decision making with patients," researchers wrote.
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