"Health care systems operate with limited resources. This enormous figure argues for careful consideration of costs when developing treatment guidelines for this population," says Elizabeth Mahoney, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine. "Now we have evidence that early, aggressive -- and initially more expensive -- treatment of these patients is actually very cost effective over time. This is good news for these patients and their physicians because aggressive treatment offers the best prognosis."
Dr. Mahoney is one of the principal investigators in a new study conducted by Emory and Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), that reaches this conclusion based on an examination of the economic costs of conservative and aggressive therapies for acute coronary syndromes over six months.
Past studies have shown that early, aggressive treatment with cardiac catheterization and, if indicated, angioplasty or bypass surgery produces better patient outcomes when compared to a conservative approach using catheterization and angioplasty or bypass surgery only in patients who fail to respond well to medical therapy (including "clot buster" drugs). However, the aggressive treatment is initially more expensive than the conservative approach -- and physicians have questioned whether additional benefits from the therapy are worth the significant additional expense.
Dr. Mahoney, Emory cardiologist William S. Weintraub, M.D., and other colleagues found that the initial higher expense for the aggressive approach diminishes over six months as patients treated with the conservativ
Contact: Sherry Baker
Emory University Health Sciences Center