Initial cost of primary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarction

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1996 Oct;28(4):882-9. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(96)00237-9.


Objectives: We sought to evaluate the initial economic cost of primary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarction under varying assumptions about whether a cardiac catheterization laboratory exists, whether services are provided during night and weekend hours and how cardiovascular surgical backup is arranged.

Background: Primary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarction has resulted in clinical outcomes superior or equal to those obtained with thrombolysis in recent studies, but its future implementation depends greatly on its cost and cost-effectiveness. There is a gap in knowledge about the true economic costs of this procedure, and understanding costs under a variety of hypothetic scenarios is important in planning whether and how the procedure should be offered to broad groups of patients.

Methods: A generalizable spreadsheet model was constructed to calculate the cost of primary angioplasty at a single hospital with assumptions based on data from a large nonprofit health maintenance organization (Kaiser Permanente). The following baseline assumptions were made: 1) A total of 200 patients with myocardial infarction presented to the hospital each year; 2) primary angioplasty was offered for 10 years; 3) the hospital had a cardiac catheterization laboratory; 4) costs of night call for technical personnel and cardiovascular surgical backup were already covered. Other scenarios were modeled to represent different assumptions about existing resources.

Results: Under the baseline assumptions, primary angioplasty cost $1,597/procedure. If night call for technical personnel were a new expense, the average cost would be > or = $3,206. If a new cardiac catheterization laboratory needed to be built, costs would range from $3,866 to $14,339/procedure, depending on how cardiovascular surgical backup was provided. Results were sensitive to assumptions about the annual volume of myocardial infarctions, the number of years the procedure was offered and the costs of labor, construction and equipment.

Conclusions: The initial cost of providing primary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarction varies greatly, depending on the setting in which it is provided. To provide information for clinical policy decisions, a cost-effectiveness model is needed that combines these initial costs with data on survival, quality of life and rates and costs of subsequent cardiac procedures.

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / economics*
  • California
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Decision Making
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic*
  • Myocardial Infarction / economics
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity