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Document Details :

Title: Intra-cardiac echocardiography in atrial septal interventions: impact on hospitalization costs
Author(s): W. Budts , E. Troost , J.-U. Voigt , M. Gewillig
Journal: Acta Cardiologica
Volume: 65    Issue: 2   Date: 2010   
Pages: 147-152
DOI: 10.2143/AC.65.2.2047047

Abstract :
Objective — Intra-cardiac echocardiography (ICE) is used to guide percutaneous interventions on the atrial septum. However, ICE catheters are expensive. We questioned the impact of the use of ICE catheters on hospitalization costs for patent foramen ovale (PFO) or atrial septal defect (ASD) closure.
Methods and results — Patients, scheduled for atrial septal closure, were randomly selected to use the AcuNav catheter (Biosense Webster Inc, Diamond Bar, CA, US) on top of the standard procedure (three or two days of hospitalization, procedure with transoesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and general anaesthesia). The AcuNav catheter was provided for free and the total hospitalization cost for each patient was calculated by verification of the bills, sent to the patient and the national health insurance. This was compared with a fictive hospitalization cost when ICE alone would have been used (three or two days of hospitalization, procedure without TEE, and local anaesthesia). Feasibility and safety were also evaluated.
Three PFOs and two ASDs were successfully closed (3F/2M, age 55 ± 12 years). The total hospitalization cost for a standard closing procedure was EUR 9345 ± 132 and EUR 9303 ± 132 for three and two days of hospitalization, respectively. With a free ICE catheter and no general anaesthesia, hospitalization cost lowered to EUR 8464 ± 131 and EUR 8422 ± 131, respectively. Cost saving would be EUR 881 ± 3, but the price of a single-use ICE catheter varies between EUR 2000 and 2500. In all patients, adequate images were obtained and no complications related to the ICE catheter occurred.
Conclusions — Single-use ICE catheters remain expensive in percutaneous ASD or PFO closure. However, general anaesthesia might be avoided, which could open a discussion on cost savings.