“This might be a hidden nugget of goodness that could not be detected in clinical trials,” says Peter W. Groeneveld, MD, MS, assistant professor in Penn’s Division of General Internal Medicine. “There is a distinct possibility that drug-eluting stents not only reduce the need for future cardiac procedures, but also save lives.” Groeneveld and his colleagues studied Medicare data to identify about 72,000 patients who received drug-eluting stents during a nine-month period in 2003, the first year the devices were approved for use in the United States. In a separate study Groeneveld also found that drug-eluting stents also offer cost savings during the first year after placement.
Although the initial cost of the device – averaging $16,000 - outpaces that of a bare metal stent, which costs about $14,000, the Penn researchers found that among patients with the drug-coated stents, 12 percent of those studied needed additional stents placed in the first year, compared to 15 percent of patients who received bare-metal stents.
Few patients in either arm required bypass surgery in the first year following stent placement, but those who received bare-metal stents were twice as likely to need the procedure, leading to an additional cost savings of $714 per patient treated with drug-coated stents. Overall, researchers found that patients with drug-eluting stents each saved an average of $1,350 worth of follow-up care during the year, which projects a total savings of approximately $100 million dollars among the 72,000 drug-eluting stent patients studied.
The researchers note that future studies should focus on how drug therapies including clopidogrel and cholesterol-reducing statin drugs may play a role in outcomes and costs for both types of stent patients.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine