To determine the costs of a procedure, the total costs of the department that provides the service must be considered and, in addition, the direct cost of the specific procedure. Applying this principle to the cost accounting of angioplasty and bypass surgery results in a direct, i.e. procedural, cost, including the initial hospital stay, of respectively 8694 Dfl and 20,987 Dfl. A review of the follow-up data for the first year after the original intervention revealed a 2% reintervention rate for bypass surgery, while this percentage was 29% for angioplasty. Adding the first year costs involved with reinterventions to the procedural costs results in a 1-year cost of angioplasty and bypass operation of 13,625 Dfl and 21,363 Dfl, respectively. It is concluded that because of reinterventions in the first year, a mark up of 57% on the procedural cost of angioplasty must be added to cover 1-year costs, while for bypass surgery this is only 1%. Nevertheless, the 1-year cost for angioplasty is still 36% less than for bypass surgery. As reinterventions after PTCA may stay considerably higher than for CABG for several years, the mark-up percentages will be substantially higher for longer time spans. This may tend to equalize the total costs of PTCA and CABG over time spans of perhaps 5-8 years. Sufficient data are not available to verify this statement. Clinicians must realize that choosing the most appropriate procedure is not only a matter of medical assessment but also a matter of cost effectiveness. CABG can be seen as an 'investment decision' while PTCA tends to become a decision with characteristics of 'maintenance planning'!

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European Heart Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Halem, C, van den Brink, F, de Feyter, P.J, Serruys, P.W.J.C, Suryapranata, H, Meeter, K.J, … van den Brand, M.J.B.M. (1990). Comparison of costs of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and coronary bypass surgery for patients with angina pectoris. European Heart Journal, 11, 765–771. Retrieved from