July 9, 2009 —The use
of cardiac CT for low-risk chest pain patients in the emergency department,
instead of the traditional standard of care (SOC) workup, may reduce a patient’s
length of stay and hospital charges, according to a study performed at the
University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA.
The SOC workup, which is timely and expensive, consists of a series of cardiac
enzyme tests, ECGs and nuclear stress testing.
patients were included in the study. “We found that cardiac CT based workups in
low risk chest pain patients decreased the length of hospital stay up to 20
hours and was significantly cheaper (44% less) than using the standard of care
workup,” said Janet May, MS, lead author of the study. “The SOC mean length of
stay was 25.4 hours and the mean length of stay for cardiac CT with observation
was 14.3 hours. The mean charges for SOC were $7,597; the mean charges for
cardiac CT with observation were $6,153; and the mean charges for cardiac CT
without observation were $4,251,” said May.
“Delivering care through emergency
departments is expensive, so cost containment in that setting is critical. Over
six million patients present to US emergency rooms each year with chest pain and
up to 79% of those patients fall into the low-risk category,” she said.
study shows that cardiac CT has the potential to significantly reduce cost and
length of stay in the emergency department by rapidly identifying those patients
who can safely be discharged quickly,” said May.
— News release courtesy of The American
Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS)