Small hospitals may be safe to do angioplasties

Generally speaking, states ban hospitals performing angioplasties in non-emergency situations unless there's a heart surgeon available to step in if things don't go well. However, smaller hospitals without a heart surgeon on call have increasingly been trying the procedure, and according to a new study, may not be putting patients at as much risk as previously thought. The study, which might help to convince state policymakers to change their view of small-hospital angioplasties, could have a significant impact on their bottom line. In the study, researchers looked at 9,029 patients who had angioplasties at hospitals without on-site cardiac surgeons, and compared the results with 299,132 patients at 404 centers that did have heart surgeon backup. As it turned out, complications at the hospitals without surgeons weren't significantly here.

This is good news for the smaller hospitals, which can get a much-needed $15,000 or more for an angioplasty. These hospitals have long argued that current guidelines on safe angioplasties are outdated, given that they don't take into effect the impact of stents, which make angioplasties safer by limiting the number of times the balloon is inflated.

To learn more about angioplasties without surgeons:
- read this Associated Press piece

Related Articles:
Angioplasty procedures in decline. Report
Ohio town's docs have highest angioplasty rate. Report
Study challenges angioplasty benefits. Report
Debate surrounds elective angioplasties. Report
Angioplasty study challenges 12-hour window. Report

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