Objective: There are few studies comparing the economic costs and reimbursements for aneurysm clipping versus coiling, and none are from the United States. Our hypothesis predicted that coiling would result in shorter lengths of hospitalization than clipping in patients with unruptured aneurysms and would therefore result in lower hospital charges. However, because of the severity of subarachnoid hemorrhage, there would be no difference in length of hospitalization or hospital charges in patients with ruptured aneurysms.
Methods: We compared aneurysm coiling with aneurysm clipping in patients with unruptured and ruptured aneurysms treated at the University of Florida from January 2005 to June 2007 for differences in length of hospitalization, hospital costs, hospital collections, and surgeon collections. Patient demographic and aneurysm characteristic data were obtained from a clinical database. Length of hospitalization, cost, billing, and collection data were obtained from the hospital cost accounting database. Multivariate statistical analyses of length of hospitalization, hospital costs, hospital collections, and surgeon collections were performed using factors including patient age, sex, aneurysm size, aneurysm location, aneurysm treatment, presence of subarachnoid hemorrhage, clinical grade, payor, hospital billing, and surgeon billing.
Results: There were 565 patients with cerebral aneurysms treated either surgically (306 patients, 54%) or endovascularly (259 patients, 46%). In patients without subarachnoid hemorrhage (unruptured aneurysms) (n = 367), surgery, compared with endovascular treatment, was associated with longer hospitalization (P < 0.001), but lower hospital costs (P < 0.001), higher surgeon collections (P = 0.003), and similar hospital collections. In patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (ruptured aneurysms) (n = 198), surgery was associated with lower hospital costs (P = 0.011), but similar length of stay, surgeon collections, and hospital collections. Larger aneurysm size was significantly associated with longer hospitalization in the patients with unruptured aneurysms (P < 0.001) and higher hospital costs for both patients with unruptured (P < 0.001) and ruptured (P = 0.015) aneurysms. The payor was significantly associated with hospital costs in patients with ruptured aneurysms (P = 0.034) and length of stay (unruptured aneurysms, P < 0.001; ruptured aneurysms, P < 0.001), hospital collections (unruptured aneurysms, P < 0.001; ruptured aneurysms, P < 0.001), and surgeon collections (unruptured aneurysms, P < 0.001; ruptured aneurysms, P < 0.001) in both patients with unruptured and ruptured aneurysms. A worse clinical grade was significantly associated with higher hospital costs (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Despite a shorter length of hospitalization in patients with unruptured aneurysms, coiling was associated with higher hospital costs in both patients with unruptured and ruptured aneurysms. This is likely attributable to the higher device cost of coils than clips. The advantages of coiling over clipping would be better realized if the cost of coils could be comparably reduced to that of clips.