Patient selection for diagnostic coronary angiography and hospital-level percutaneous coronary intervention appropriateness: insights from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry

JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Oct;174(10):1630-9. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.3904.


Importance: Diagnostic coronary angiography in asymptomatic patients may lead to inappropriate percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) due to a diagnostic-therapeutic cascade. Understanding the association between patient selection for coronary angiography and PCI appropriateness may inform strategies to minimize inappropriate procedures.

Objective: To determine if hospitals that frequently perform coronary angiography in asymptomatic patients, a clinical scenario in which the benefit of angiography is less clear, are more likely to perform inappropriate PCI.

Design, setting, and participants: Multicenter observational study of 544 hospitals participating in the CathPCI Registry between July 1, 2009, and September 30, 2013.

Main outcomes and measures: Hospital proportion of asymptomatic patients at diagnostic coronary angiography and hospital rate of inappropriate PCI as defined by 2012 appropriate use criteria for coronary revascularization.

Results: Of 1 225 562 patients who underwent elective coronary angiography, 308 083 (25.1%) were asymptomatic. The hospital proportion of angiography among asymptomatic patients ranged from 1.0% to 73.6% (median, 24.7%; interquartile range, 15.9%-35.9%). By hospital quartile of asymptomatic patients at angiography, hospitals with higher rates of asymptomatic patients at angiography had higher median rates of inappropriate PCI (14.8% vs 20.2% vs 24.0 vs 29.4% from lowest to highest quartile, P < .001 for trend). This outcome was attributable to more frequent use of inappropriate PCI in asymptomatic patients at hospitals with higher rates of angiography in asymptomatic patients (5.4% vs 9.9% vs 14.7% vs 21.6% from lowest to highest quartile, P < .001 for trend). Hospitals with higher rates of asymptomatic patients at angiography also had lower rates of appropriate PCI (38.7% vs 33.0% vs 32.3% vs 32.9% from lowest to highest quartile, P < .001 for trend).

Conclusions and relevance: In a national sample of hospitals, performance of coronary angiography in asymptomatic patients was associated with higher rates of inappropriate PCI and lower rates of appropriate PCI. Improving preprocedural risk stratification and thresholds for coronary angiography may be one strategy to improve the appropriateness of PCI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angina, Stable / surgery*
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary
  • Coronary Angiography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection*
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention* / statistics & numerical data
  • Registries
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Unnecessary Procedures*