Background: Recently, carotid angioplasty with stenting (CAS) has evolved as an alternative to carotid endarterectomy (CEA) for the treatment of carotid occlusive disease. Some concerns have arisen regarding the high cost of stents and neuroprotection devices, which may inflate the overall procedural costs relative to CEA. We report here a review and analysis contrasting the clinical outcomes and associated hospital costs incurred for patients treated with either CAS or CEA.
Methods: Ninety-four consecutive patients with surgically amenable carotid stenosis were offered CAS or CEA. Forty-six patients elected CAS, and 48 patients underwent CEA. CAS was performed with the Smart Precise or Acculink stents, and all procedures included neuroprotection (Filter Wire or Accunet). CEA was performed with patients under general anesthesia with routine shunting and with Dacron or bovine pericardium patches. Clinical outcomes such as perioperative mortality, major adverse events (myocardial infarction, stroke, and death), length of stay, and the incidence of hemodynamic instability were analyzed. Total costs, indirect costs, and direct procedural costs associated with hospitalization were also reviewed.
Results: CAS was associated with a shorter length of stay compared with CEA (1.2 vs 2.1 days; P = .02). Differences in perioperative mortality (0% vs 2%; P = NS), major adverse events (2% vs 10%; P = .36), strokes (2% vs 4%; P = NS), myocardial infarctions (0% vs 4%; P = .49), and hypotension necessitating pressor support (21% vs 18%; P = NS) were not statistically significant. By using cost to charge ratio methodology according to the Medicare report, CAS was associated with higher total procedural costs (US dollars 17,402 vs US dollars 12,112; P = .029) and direct costs (US dollars 10,522 vs US dollars 7227; P = .017). The differences in indirect costs were not significant (US dollars 6879 vs US dollars 4885; P = .063).
Conclusions: CAS with neuroprotection was associated with clinical outcomes equivalent to those with CEA but had higher total hospital costs. These higher costs reflect the addition of expensive devices that have improved the technical success and the clinical outcomes associated with CAS.