Purpose: Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty with stenting (PTAS) of the carotid artery has been advocated as an alternative treatment for high-grade stenosis. Rationale for this approach includes less morbidity, shorter recovery, and lower cost when compared with carotid endarterectomy (CEA).
Methods: The clinical results and hospital charges of patients who underwent elective treatment for carotid stenosis were reviewed. During a concurrent 14-month period, 218 patients were admitted 229 times for 234 procedures for the treatment of 239 carotid bifurcation stenoses, 109 by PTAS and 130 by CEA. Hospital charges were reviewed for each hospitalization and were categorized according to radiology, operating room, cardiac catheterization laboratory, and all other hospital charges.
Results: The combined incidence of postprocedure strokes and deaths were: PTAS, eight strokes (7.7%) and one death (0.9%); CEA, two strokes (1.5%) and two deaths (1.5%). Total hospital charges per admission for the two groups were $30,140 for PTAS and $21,670 for CEA. The average postprocedure length of stay for PTAS was 2.9 days (median, 2 days) and for CEA was 3.1 days (median, 3 days). Cardiac catheterization laboratory charges for the PTAS group were $12,968, whereas the operating room charges for the CEA group were $4263. When hospitalizations that were extended by complications were excluded, the average total charges for the PTAS group (n = 84) dropped to $24,848 (mean length of stay, 1.9 days) and for the CEA group (n = 111) to $19,247 (mean length of stay, 2.6 days).
Conclusions: After evaluating hospital charges, PTAS for the treatment of carotid stenosis cannot currently be justified on the basis of reduced costs alone. With future cost-containing measures, total hospital charges can be reduced in both groups.