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Study: Cost of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Higher for Patients who are Older, Female or Black

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Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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A medical professional listens to a patient's heartbeat

Heart patients who are older, female or black are associated with higher costs for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), according to a new UAlbany study.

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 19, 2009) -- Heart patients who are older, female or black are associated with higher costs for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), according to a study by University at Albany researchers.

In addition to patient factors, Shadi Saleh of the University at Albany's School of Public Health and colleagues found that larger hospitals were also associated with higher costs of CABG hospitalizations, but that costs decreased with a higher volume of heart patients.

"This study will help the hospital sector and policy makers better understand the structure of the costs of such a nationally high volume procedure," said Saleh. "Of special attention is the need and benefits to use patient management strategies that can potentially reduce costs."

The research team analyzed more than 12,000 sets of data from the New York State's Cardiac Surgery Reporting System, the New York State's Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System dataset, the American Hospital Association dataset, and Medicare Hospital Cost Report Public Use files. The study population was composed of New York state residents who underwent a CABG procedure in a New York State hospital and were discharged in 2003.

In the study, published in a recent issue of the Annals of Surgery, the research team discovered that certain patient clinical characteristics also increased CABG discharge costs, including the duration between CABG admission and the occurrence of myocardial infarction, the number of diseased vessels present in the patient, previous open heart procedures, and the occurrence of comorbidity factors.

Hospitals, the study concluded, should explore ways to address patient management and case volume that are associated with higher CABG discharge expenses in order to contain costs.

Annals of Surgery, the world's most highly referenced surgery journal, provides the international medical community with information on significant contributions to the advancement of surgical science and practice. Visit the journal for information.

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UAlbany graduate student Jacob Crawford, '09
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