Objective: Immediate angioplasty and thrombolysis followed by conservative therapy are treatment strategies for acute myocardial infarction. The objective of this study was to compare the costs of these two strategies during a 12-month period.
Methods: Of 103 patients with acute myocardial infarction who sought medical assistance within 12 hours after onset of symptoms, 4 were excluded from analysis for various reasons, 51 received tissue plasminogen activator, and 48 underwent immediate angioplasty as the initial revascularization strategy. The main outcome determinants were direct monetary costs and indirect measures of costs, including duration of hospital stay and return to work.
Results: No significant difference in monetary costs between the two initial treatment strategies could be demonstrated. A trend was noted toward a briefer hospital stay and fewer late in-hospital procedures for patients treated initially with immediate angioplasty. Other measures of indirect costs were not statistically different.
Conclusion: The hypothesis that thrombolysis followed by conservative therapy would be more cost-effective than immediate angioplasty in the treatment of patients with acute myocardial infarction could not be substantiated. The two strategies seem to have similar cost-effectiveness.