Cost savings associated with the nonroutine use of carotid angiography

Am J Surg. 1997 Dec;174(6):650-3; discussion 653-4. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9610(97)00174-8.


Background: To evaluate the economic impact of performing carotid endarterectomy based only on a diagnosis of duplex scanning, we evaluated a cohort of patients treated at our institution during 1 calendar year.

Methods: Ninety-seven patients were evaluated and divided into two groups: those with and without arteriogram prior to their operation. Duplex scan and arteriogram results were reviewed to determine their effect on the operative plan. Hospital charges and physician fees were assessed for each patient admission. Operative results, complications, and total charges were compared between the two groups.

Results: There was one operative stroke in each group for a stroke rate of 2%. Angiographic complications included one stroke and one femoral artery thrombosis. Two arteriograms led to a change in the operative plan. The hospital charges for patients without an arteriogram was $10,292 verses $13,906 for patients with an arteriogram (P < 0.01). Physician charges for patients without an arteriogram were $3,882, with angiograms and $6,297. The total charges related to the endarterectomy were $14,174 and $20,203, respectively. Arteriograms accounted for an increase of 43% in total charges.

Conclusion: Nonroutine use of angiography does not increase operative risk or postoperative length of stay, and preoperative angiography increases total charges by 43% ($6,029) per patient.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carotid Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Angiography / economics*
  • Cost Savings / statistics & numerical data*
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid / economics*
  • Fees, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospital Charges / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Louisiana
  • Medicare
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Surgery Department, Hospital / economics*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex
  • United States