Radial approach more cost-effective for diagnostic cardiac catheterization

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For diagnostic cardiac catheterization, the radial artery approach is more cost-effective than the femoral artery approach with or without the use of femoral closure devices, according to the August issue of The Journal of Invasive Cardiology.

Oleg Roussanov, MD, and colleagues made a comparative cost analysis of patients who underwent diagnostic cardiac catheterization between October 2004 and December 2005 at the cardiology section of Salem Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Salem, Va.

Radial (R), femoral (F), and femoral with closure device (FwCD) approaches were examined in 70, 62 and 49 consecutive cases, respectively. The radial group had higher access equipment costs than the femoral group, $93 vs. $40.50. But, the R group had lower catheter cost than the F group, $19.70 vs. $31.10, and lower contrast cost than the FwCD group, $26.90 vs. $42.90.  

In terms of recovery, there was a lower post-procedure recovery cost in the R group, $185.20, compared with the F group of $337.50, and the FwCD group, $208.

Overall, the total variable procedural costs, which include approach-dependent equipment and recovery-room stay, was significantly lower in the R group, $369.50, than in the F group, $446.90, and even more so than the FwCD group, $553.40.  

The researchers deduced from the study that “although the cost savings per case may appear small [between $77.40 and $183.90 per patient], with more than one million diagnostic cardiac catheterizations performed yearly in the United States, there is potential for tremendous cost savings using the radial approach.”