May 26, 2009 – The Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance said today a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania confirms computed tomography angiography (CTA) to be a safe, effective and cost-efficient means of ruling out cardiovascular disease in patients presenting to the emergency room with chest pain. The results of this landmark study were presented at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s annual conference.
“With over 8 million Americans coming to the emergency room with chest pain every year, it is extremely important that hospitals and patients have access to quick, efficient and high quality cardiovascular screening procedures such as CTA,” said Ilyse Schuman, managing director, MITA, a member of the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition. “MITA applauds the work of Dr. Hollander and his team, whose groundbreaking study provides definitive proof that CTA is a highly effective means of ruling out cardiovascular disease. This not only reassures patients, but also helps to avoid unnecessary procedures, particularly trips to the cath lab, and reduces risk of contracting community acquired infections.”
In this, the first long-term study following a large number of patients who have undergone emergency room CTA, Judd Hollander, M.D., and his team tracked 481 patients for one year after receiving a negative scan (i.e., a scan that showed no serious coronary blockages or damage to the heart). While 11 percent of the patients required rehospitalization at some point over the year, and another 11 percent received additional cardiac testing, not a single patient suffered a heart attack or required revascularization procedures to open blocked arteries.
CTA has been already proven cost-effective in countless studies, with previous University of Pennsylvania research showing CTA to save $2,500 per patient in a hospital setting. This most recent study by Hollander, et al, now proves CTA not only to be cost-saving, but diagnostically beneficial as well.
Yet, despite rapidly compounding evidence that CTA is both cost-saving and diagnostically effective, Medicare does not currently cover the procedure in an emergency room setting. In discussing the potential for a national coverage decision on CTA, Hollander states, “The evidence now clearly shows that when used in appropriate patients in the ED [emergency department], we can safely and rapidly reduce hospital admission and save money…It seems time to make a national coverage decision that will facilitate coronary CTA in the emergency department."
MITA is a division of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.
For more information: www.medicalimaging.org