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Cardiovascular Health Channel
Reported July 12, 2005

Common Surgery Costs Almost Twice As Much in United States

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- It's one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States and Canada, but the cost is not equal in both countries, according to new research. The study reports the hospital costs of coronary artery bypass graft surgery is almost twice as much in the United States vs. Canada.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in North America and accounts for more than a third of all deaths. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery is performed on patients with narrowings or blockages of the heart arteries. The surgery creates new routes around the blocked arteries, allowing sufficient blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscles.

Doctors from Jewish General Hospital in Montreal conducted a study to compare outcomes and costs of treating patients with this surgery in the United States and Canada. They looked at more than 12,000 patients' data who underwent bypass surgery at five United States and four Canadian hospitals.

Study authors report the in-hospital costs were significantly higher in the United States than in Canada. The average cost in the United States was $20,673, and the average cost in Canada was $10,373 -- an 85 percent difference. Even though the cost was less in Canada, the patients actually stayed in the hospital longer than in the United States. There was no difference in the number of deaths in the United States vs. Canada.

Researchers say the cost difference is because of higher costs for products and labor in the United States resulting from a nonsocialized medical system. However, they point out the United States seems to streamline services better with a shorter length of stay for patients than in Canada -- something Canadian hospitals may want to emulate to reduce their costs even more without reducing mortality rates.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: /newsalert/.

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2005;165:1506-1513

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